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Recruiter Explains The Real Reason Why There Are So Many Open Jobs But Nobody's Getting Hired

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frustrated job searcher

We're constantly getting conflicting messages about the economy nowadays. On one hand, unemployment is way down and there are tons of open jobs. On the other hand, nobody seems to be able to find work.

So what's going on? Recruiter Mike Peditto on TikTok has some perspective. 

Peditto offered insight into why there are so many open jobs but nobody's getting hired. 

The most recent jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 350,000 jobs were added in January 2024, double the growth that was expected by many economists.

But that rosy picture hardly aligns with most job seekers' experiences, applying for sometimes hundreds of jobs only to hear little more than radio silence. 

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Recruiter Mike Peditto knows this struggle firsthand. 

As he shared in a recent video, he was laid off in 2022 and applied to over 300 jobs before he found a new one, only to then be let go from that job too. "I've personally seen and been affected by every single side of this market," he said.

Peditto said a huge part of the problem is massive layoffs among recruiting staff in recent years.

Peditto has since gone back to full-time recruiting work, and he said he routinely gets more than 300 applications for pretty much every open role he posts. That, he said, is the problem. 

   

   

He addressed the several viral stories in recent months about so-called "ghost jobs" — companies posting fake jobs to create an illusion of growth — as well as the encroachment of AI into recruiting and the difficulty of optimizing a resume for applicant tracking systems, issues often cited as the reason why there are so many open jobs but nobody's getting hired.

But Peditto thinks neither of those things are happening at a scale that actually explains the problem. Rather, situations like his own are to blame: a single recruiter having to sift through 300 applications for every role due to widespread recruiting staff layoffs in recent years.

Companies have been gutting their recruiting staff in recent years. Some tech companies slashed recruiting positions by as much as 50% in 2022. Google famously slashed hundreds of recruiters in September 2023. 

Recruiter Explains Why There Are So Many Open Jobs But Nobody's Getting HiredPhoto: and.one / Canva Pro

Unsurprisingly, a 2022 survey by HR company Workvivo found staggering rates of burnout among recruiting staff. A whopping 98% of recruiting and HR professionals said they are breaking under their workload.

Peditto painted a stark picture of the situation. "Recruiting teams that used to have 50 people on them now have 10, recruiting teams that used to be 10 people now are one," he explained. "That 10-person recruiting team used to get 50 applications if they opened up a role. Now it's a one-person team that gets 300 applications."

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Peditto said this has also caused decision-makers to drag their feet on selecting who they're going to hire. "Hiring managers are scared to make a decision because they don't want it to affect their potential job," he said. "Now everyone's scared of getting laid off, so they wind up delaying and delaying it."

These factors are also part of why there are so many people looking for work, even though unemployment is historically low.

The current unemployment rate of 3.7% is among the lowest in decades, just a touch higher than the 3.4% rate a year ago which was the lowest since 1969. But the employment rate doesn't show the entire picture. 

"For starters," Peditto explained in another video, "it's worth not ignoring the fact that 3.7% of people unemployed is still millions of people." 

   

   

However, the growth areas in the job market are narrow. Hospitality and healthcare are both booming, but other industries like tech and media are massively struggling. These butt up against another unavoidable but little-known truth: employment reports are usually riddled with misleading inaccuracies

Freelancers, temps, part-timers, and gig workers, for example, do not fit cleanly into economic metrics, so they are often misreported or underreported. Those who've given up on finding a job are also not counted as unemployed. In fact, they're not counted at all.

Perhaps, most importantly, job reports don't account for the quality of jobs, like whether they actually pay a living wage.

The bottom line: If this strange economic moment doesn't make sense to you, you're not crazy. And if you're struggling in the job market, you're not alone, and it's not you that's the problem. Hang in there.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.