How People Are Searching for Jobs in 2016

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain famously said.

Nowadays, desktop computers could make a similar claim. For years, tech watchers have predicted that the desktop computer would soon become obsolete as users conduct more and more of their personal business on mobile devices.

But data shows that, while people are spending more time connected through their phones, they’re not ready to give up their desktops yet.

Job searching is a case in point. Most ZipRecruiter applicants use both their phone and their desktop computer to apply for jobs.

Of nearly 2,000 desktop users we surveyed, just over 700 had used their phones to apply to a few or no jobs. About the same number was at the other end of the spectrum, using their phones to apply to six or more jobs.


Among mobile users, the ratio of heavy users to lighter users was more skewed, at two-to-one, but hardly a shutout.

Users seem to divide themselves into camps: Some prefer desktop for job searching, and some prefer mobile. Of all users polled, 85 percent of both groups said they preferred the type of screen they were looking at the moment.



The appeal of mobile won’t surprise anyone: Users who prefer to apply for jobs on their phones like being able to work on their careers wherever they are.

For the time being, there are still tasks that we people prefer to do on their home computers. Topping the list in our survey was creating a resume, which two-thirds of all of our users did on their desktop computers.

In other words, despite the frequent rumors of the desktop’s demise, it still has a role to play, even for users who love their phones.

Among mobile users who said that the small screen was their favorite, less than 10 percent said they didn’t own a desktop computer.

What we found seems to be consistent with trends observed by others. For instance, in comScore’s 2015 U.S. mobile app usage report, time on mobile devices rose but didn’t reduce time on desktop screens.

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A former contributor to the ZipRecruiter blog, Cameron Scott is a science writer living in San Francisco, California.

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