The number of job seekers plunges in December and spikes in January, according to data released last month by Glassdoor. Across nine countries represented in the data, there are 11 to 29 percent more job applications in January as compared to the monthly average: suggesting that while December is probably a bad time to post a new job, January may be the best time for recruiters and hiring managers to start sourcing new talent.
This finding is corroborated by a separate study by Australian recruiter Employment Office, which found that while the number of job advertisements posted drops dramatically in December, the number of views each advertisement garners shoots up in January, such that the average number of daily searches actually increases by 2.8 million.
This dip followed by an increase might be attributable to holiday cycles which have people taking their break from work and job hunting in December, and to conventional wisdom, which states that January and sometimes February is when hiring departments receive their updated budgets and make their plans for the year’s manpower needs.
However, the Glassdoor data also shows that January is when employers are less likely to post job openings. There are significantly fewer job postings in January compared to the monthly average, which suggests that employers are not taking full advantage of the availability of a larger talent pool.
If nothing changes this year, the drop in January hiring may be even greater than usual due to the subdued economic outlook around the world, which has seen employers preferring to maintain their current workforce. One employment outlook survey by Manpower Group, for example, found that hiring intentions in the majority of countries have actually declined in the first quarter of 2020. But at the same time, the number of job seekers may actually increase, making competition for jobs in January even steeper. The quarterly Randstad WorkMonitor survey shows a steady upward trend in job change since 2018, with no sign of decreasing in 2020.