Baby boomer applicants plunge, as Gen Z surges. But where are they applying?

A new report parses out application rates across state lines as well as job opening and hiring trends. Turns out, companies are hiring but applicants are few and far between.


Image: GettyImages/GaudiLab

After a year filled with layoffs and hiring freezes due to the coronavirus pandemic, hiring activity has been on the rise in recent months. At the same time, a tight labor market and speculated Great Resignation also complicate staffing and recruiting for companies. On Wednesday, iCIMS released its latest monthly workforce report for August, highlighting application rates across state lines as well as job opening and hiring trends.

"The hiring boom is in full force as this month's jobs report showed indications of a strong economic recovery. Our most recent workforce data echoes that strength as the current hiring activity proves to be substantially greater than in recent years," said Rhea Moss, director of data insights and customer intelligence at iCIMS.

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Hiring abounds but applications lag behind

Overall, July hiring rates were up 35% compared to July 2019, well before the onset of COVID-19, per iCIMS. From January through July, job openings have increased 69% and hiring has followed a similar albeit markedly slower pace (57%). Interestingly, the holdup on filling open positions appears to be on the candidate side as job applications have only increased 2% from January to July, according to the iCIMS findings.

"Employers are still facing stiff competition for talent as job openings continue to climb, but job applications have yet to show that same momentum," Moss said. "Employers should continue to engage with candidates via convenient communication tools like texting to attract, engage and hire top talent as quickly as possible and incorporate video interviewing into their processes to get a more accurate depiction of a candidate."

Applications: State-by-state analysis

A portion of the report parses out applicant data across state lines for a micro look at the hiring landscape and competition among job seekers. In the second quarter of this year, the number of applicants per job opening decreased 21% compared to the same time period in 2019 and 28% compared to the second quarter of last year, according to iCIMS data.

For every U.S. opening, companies receive 18 applicants on average, per iCIMS', although these numbers vary markedly from state to state. With applications down across the U.S., where do applicants face the least competition and vice versa?

In Montana, employers receive 7 applicants for every opening on average, the lowest ratio listed in the iCIMS graphic. Following The Treasure State, Alaska (9), Oregon (11), Idaho (11) and Vermont (11) boast the lowest application rate per opening.

On the flip side, New York and Texas top the list in terms of hiring competition, with 24 applicants per position on average and Nevada is close behind (23). Based on these ratios, other competitive states for applicants include Georgia (21), Louisiana (21), Connecticut (20) and Maryland (20).

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Younger applicants outnumber the field

Applications among individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 surged between January to July compared to the same period in 2020. Year over year, applications among the 35 to 44 age group increased 9%, during these time periods, and applications among professionals 45 to 54 increased 5%, according to the iCIMS report. Applications among older workers declined markedly during these time periods, with the 55 to 64 age group and people 65 and older decreasing 12% and 5%, respectively.

"The most active talent pool right now is 18–24-year-olds, and they will be looking for companies that promote modern and accessible recruitment efforts," Moss said.

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