IT pros happy but open to new career opportunities

The 2016 Job Seeker Nation study from Jobvite shows the U.S. workforce is in a state of flux. Job tenures are shorter and the hunt for new opportunities never stops.

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Credit: Simon Potter

Today's workplace landscape is in a state of flux. Workers are still adjusting to a new normal in which job tenure is shorter and the hunt for a new position never stops. The annual Job Seeker Nation study from recruiting and hiring services company Jobvite shows that while 74 percent of the survey respondents say they're satisfied with their current job, that same percentage say they're also open to new opportunities.

Of the 2,305 U.S. workers surveyed online in early February, 38 percent of respondents also say it's harder to find a new job than it was in 2015; only 19 percent say it's easier.

The great divide

Social media continues to dominate the job search for candidates, with 67 percent of job seekers that used online social media to find their current jobs using Facebook; only 30 percent used LinkedIn. This points to an interesting disconnect, says Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite, because only 55 percent of recruiters use Facebook, with 87 percent using LinkedIn.

"What's interesting here is how candidates and recruiters are using social media for different purposes. Recruiters are looking for targeted, professional profiles and work-related information about viable candidates, but the candidates are looking to understand the culture and the day-to-day life in a company," Bitte says.

While candidates are still updating their LinkedIn profiles and storing professional information there, it's the culture and the company brand, as well as referrals from family, friends and colleagues -- both current and former -- that are driving candidates to new workplaces.

"You have to be really thoughtful as a company about your brand and your culture, and to use the right tools and platforms to get your message out. Yes, make sure you're leveraging LinkedIn, but don't discount Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms to help your company be recognized, because referrals are a fantastic way to hire, not just for recruiters, but for candidates," Bitte says.

[ Related story: How job hopping can actually help your career ]

Fulfilling work

In fact, the survey revealed that 24 percent of respondents say their most fulfilling job came as a result of a referral. Internet job boards were ranked second, with 12 percent of respondents citing them as a source for their most fulfilling job.

Money, money, money

While culture remains critical to job seekers looking for new opportunities, the survey results show that pay still tops the list of reasons respondents both leave a previous job and decide to take a new one, though the results showed that compensation is less important to millennials (52 percent cite compensation as their top concern) and more important to established professionals between the ages of 40 and 54 (70 percent cite compensation as their top concern). Fifty percent of all respondents cite location/geography as their top reason for changing jobs and 43 percent of respondents listed growth opportunities.

The gig economy is also making an impact on job seekers, according to the Jobvite survey. Roughly one-in-five job seekers (19 percent) say they've received income from a "gig" job like Uber, AirBnB or TaskRabbit, for instance. And 56 percent say it's their full-time job.

"This data reinforced what we're seeing anecdotally -- we keep hearing from professionals on our site that they're noticing a change in the workforce, a shift toward consultants and contract workers -- but the surprising thing is the demographics. It's not younger workers taking these gigs, it's the middle-aged workforce. Why? Though we didn't delve into that, we assume it's those folks with kids and a mortgage, who wants some flexibility. Even those workers who have a full-time job take on side gigs. It's a huge, growing part of the economy right now," Bitte says.

[ Related story: Why your business can't afford toxic employees ]

Job seekers never stop looking for that next opportunity, which means recruiters and hiring managers should never stop actively pursuing potential candidates for their pipeline, Bitte says. Though only 18 percent of respondents overall say they expect to change jobs every one to three years, that number more than doubles when the data's broken down by generation and almost triples when gender's taken into account. Forty-two percent of millennials and 55 percent of millennial women say they expect to change jobs frequently, ostensibly on the lookout for higher pay, greater growth opportunity or a more convenient location.

"We are never done recruiting. It continues to be super-competitive and tough to recruit and to keep talent. Companies need to focus on marketing their brand, attracting passive job seekers and upping referrals, not just advertising job openings and hoping for the best," Bitte says.

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