job ads

In the second quarter of 2021, nearly one in three job ads in the Indeed® platform were marked as urgently hiring.

Normally we associate urgency with the job market as attractive. When supply is greater than demand, urgency as a demand indicator works.

Job Ads Urgency Signals Desperation

But in the topsy-turvy job environment of 2021 that was not the case. Because so many employers posted jobs as urgent, the opposite effect took place. The estimated number of days to fill urgent jobs was actually higher than jobs not marked as urgently hiring. This is especially the case where there is nothing else attractive about the ad to distinguish itself such as compensation or remote work.

I am not a psychologist, but it makes sense to me. If demand outstrips supply, urgency is not an attractor and in fact tends to push people away. If I had signaled to my wife that I was desperate when we were dating maybe she wouldn’t have been as interested.

Do Signing Bonuses Work?

During the tail end of 2021, employers reverted to other ad differentiators such as incorporating sign-on bonuses in the title or the ad abstract. The use of bonuses in this way seems somewhat cyclical as shown in the following graph.

Job Postings with Bonus

Bonuses were stated in just over 5% of ads during 2021. The impact was positive but negligible. Postings with bonuses resulted in overall estimated fill rates of four days faster (41 days vs. 37 days). What remains unknown is whether the costs of acquiring this talent are outweighed by the long-term prospects of retaining the talent.

Is Pay Transparency Here to Stay?

Going into 2021, job postings with advertised compensation were just under one third of all job postings. During 2021, that number rose to nearly 50% before leveling off. Pay transparency initiatives may also have something to do with this. It is also reflective of the need to be aggressive in pay advertising.

Postings with Compensation

Many job ads disclose wide variations in compensation ranges. We currently are analyzing these variations and the effect of advertised compensation on ad turnover.

This post is based on a newly released white paper “The State of the Workforce and What You Can Do About It“. This white paper is automatically available to subscribers of our free jobs reports.

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