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Survey of Recently Hired Workers

Newly hired Americans remain in the driver’s seat despite signs of recent cooling in the labor market, according to a new ZipRecruiter survey of 2,500+ Americans conducted in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Although layoffs have recently accelerated in the tech and real estate industries, U.S. workers continue to have considerable bargaining power in what remains a robust labor market overall. A new ZipRecruiter survey1 conducted in the fourth quarter of 2022 explored the job search experiences of 2,550 U.S. residents hired within the prior 6 months. It highlights some of the key ways in which a tight labor market is fueling upward mobility for job seekers and workers. 

What’s more, it finds that this most recent cohort of new hires received even larger raises and was even more likely to gain expanded benefits than those surveyed in the first quarter of 20222—a surprising finding, since many official labor market indicators moderated over that period.

The report below summarizes key findings from the Q4 survey. In cases where we asked the same survey question in Q1, the Q4 results are compared to the Q1 results. Where no such comparison is provided, the reason is that the survey question was asked in Q4 for the first time. 

Speed-Hiring: The New Normal 

About 90% of the recently hired candidates surveyed reported hearing back from their new employer within about a week of applying for their job. It follows that, in this competitive labor market, quick-acting organizations are winning the war for talent. 

  • Half of respondents (50.3%) said they heard back from their current employer within 3 days of applying for their job. 
  • 9 in 10 (89.6%) said they heard back within about a week
  • Historically, it has been standard for employers to respond to applicants about 1-3 weeks after receiving their applications to set up an interview. 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: Motivated employers are moving fast to connect with the right candidates for their roles, so feel empowered to explore other opportunities if you aren’t hearing back in a timely manner. Apply from anywhere using the ZipRecruiter mobile app
  • Employers: In today’s intensely competitive hiring environment, you must act quickly to be taken seriously by candidates and secure top talent. Not only does ZipRecruiter use smart matching technology to quickly identify candidates with the right skills, but our Invite to Apply  tool also enables employers to proactively reach out to top candidates immediately. Jobs where employers use Invite to Apply receive over 6x more candidates within the first day of posting.3 

Pay Increases

Not all job switchers increase their pay when they change positions. Some willingly take a pay cut for better work-life balance, while others do so reluctantly under financial pressure. 

  • Overall, 62.6% of recent hires said they received a pay boost when they switched jobs, while 15.6% said their pay stayed the same, and 21.9% said they took a pay cut. Those shares were largely unchanged from the 2022 Q1 survey results. 
  • Among the 21.9% who took a pay cut:
    • About half did so under pressure. 35.8% said they were unemployed and needed the job, while another 12.6% said they were employed but unhappy in their old job and eager to leave as soon as possible.
    • About half traded pay for nonmonetary improvements in their employment conditions. 27.4% took less stressful jobs, 10.5% moved into jobs allowing remote work, and 13.8% took jobs with more career growth potential.

Double-Digit Pay Increases

Most job switchers change roles with a view to increasing their earnings, and they tend to receive larger pay raises than employees who stay put. Since the pandemic, the gap between wage growth for job stayers and that for job switchers has been wider than ever, according to data from the Atlanta Fed.4 Our survey similarly found higher shares of job switchers reporting large pay raises in Q4 than in Q1. 

  • Among those job switchers who received a pay increase, 2 in 3 (67.5%) said they received a raise of 11% or more when they switched jobs, up from less than half (48.0%) in the February survey.
    • That equates to 42.2% of respondents overall reporting a double-digit pay increase in the Q4 survey, up from 30.8% in the Q1 survey. 
  • Among those job switchers who received a pay increase, nearly 5% (4.9%) said they more than doubled their pay, up from 2.5% in 2022 Q1.  

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: Taking a new job can be an effective way to increase your earnings. Find a new role on ZipRecruiter, and check out salaries from real employers before you start negotiations on a new role so that you know where you stand and are prepared to get the best offer.
  • Employers: Be cognizant that job seekers are likely seeking a pay increase when taking a new job, and being transparent about pay and benefits can help you land top quality candidates. Job postings that include salary data receive 50% more applications, on average.5 

A highly competitive hiring environment has raised pay for new hires so much that there has been substantial compression between wages paid to the newest employees and wages paid to the most senior—in some cases, even wage inversion. Now, pay transparency laws recently enacted in Colorado, New York City, California, and Washington will make that compression transparent. It’s time for employers to consider how this information will affect incumbent employees’ perceptions of fairness. Employers should expect to come under pressure to restore the growth potential inherent in their employee pay structure by adjusting pay upwards for existing employees as well.

Bidding Wars

To avoid the difficulty and high cost of replacing employees in a competitive labor market, employers have become more focused on retaining the workers they have. Their efforts to stave off competition from other employers have sometimes led to big pay adjustments for existing employees and bidding wars that have boosted worker bargaining power in outside pay negotiations. 

  • Nearly 1 in 4 recent job switchers (24.3%) say their previous employer asked them to stay and countered their new offer
  • That was a slight increase over the share in Q1 (22.7%). 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: While switching jobs can be an effective way to increase your earnings, your current employer may be eager to retain you, especially if you are a high performer. Research the competitive market rate for your role, and leverage that market research in salary negotiations with your employer. Check out salaries from real employers, so you know what you are worth.
  • Employers: Don’t lose high–performing employees to other companies due to uncompetitive pay. Use ZipRecruiter salary estimates to learn what other companies are paying around the country and ensure you’re compensating your team appropriately. Our salary information can also help you to comply with new salary transparency laws and identify appropriate pay benchmarks.

Benefits and Bonuses 

Signing bonuses were rare before the pandemic when they were typically used to recruit top talent into senior roles. They were mentioned in about 2-3% of job postings on ZipRecruiter historically, but that share rose above 12% after the pandemic, when employers were struggling to fill vacancies and signing bonuses became ubiquitous in certain industries. Our new survey finds that access to signing bonuses continued to expand in 2022. 

  • More than 1 in 4 new hires (27.2%) reported receiving a signing bonus in the Q4 survey, up from 21.6% in Q1. 
  • New hires also reported receiving other improvements in their compensation and working conditions. 41.3% gained more schedule flexibility, 26.7% gained health insurance, 19.1% gained access to performance bonuses, 16.9% gained retirement benefits, 7.6% gained access to tuition assistance, and 4.2% gained stock-based compensation that they didn’t have in their previous role. 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: While a competitive salary is important, a solid total compensation package that includes what matters most to you should also be top of mind. Look for roles with holistic benefits packages, and if a higher salary isn’t something the employer can offer, see if they can make up for it with added perks, benefits or a one-time signing bonus.
  • Employers: Money will always talk, but benefits (and flexibility) do too. Don’t underestimate the value of one-time bonuses, a flexible and stable work environment and a robust benefits package when extending an offer.

Mobility and Reskilling

With the U.S. economy adding more jobs across a broader swathe of industries than normal over the last two years,6 workers have gained the opportunity to switch careers. Research by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, for example, shows that migration from blue-collar jobs in construction or mining to more office-based fields has accelerated since the pandemic. 

  • Only 51.3% of job switchers reported in Q4 that they still work in the same industry in their current job as they did in their previous job.
    • The tech and health care sectors retained job switchers at the highest rates, with 73.6% and 63.5% of job switchers previously employed in the respective industries reporting that they stayed in the same industry.
    • Insurance, business support and logistics, airlines and aerospace, real estate, and nonprofit organizations had the lowest industry retention rates, with only 24.4%, 26.1%, 27.8%, 30.8%, and 33.3% of job seekers in the respective industries saying that they stayed in the same industry. 
    • The tech sector experienced the largest in-migration of job switchers, gaining 2.9% of job switchers surveyed, and increasing its employment share by 46%. The manufacturing sector experienced the largest out-migration of job switchers, losing 1.0% of job switchers surveyed, and decreasing its employment share by 21.9%. 
  • More than 1 in 3 recently hired Americans (36.0%) said they learned a new skill, took an online course or gained a new certification to get their current job.
    • Younger respondents were substantially more likely to have invested in gaining new skills. 45% of recent hires aged 18-24 sought reskilling, compared to just 14% of recent hires aged 55 or older. 
    • Among those recent hires who reskilled for their job search, 3 in 5 (60.6%) said they would not have been able to get their current job without learning this new skill. 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: With acute skills shortages in certain industries, it’s a great time to move into roles with growing demand for workers and solid long term growth prospects. Online and in-person classes and certification programs can help you learn new skills and compete for more attractive opportunities.
  • Employers: If you’re looking for new talent, it may be worth exploring candidates in adjacent industries or role types. As certain industries experience rising layoffs and slowing hires, there may be more talent up for grabs in those markets. Large shares of job seekers are open to investing in new skills. 

Negotiating Power

Despite competition among employers for scarce talent, most candidates were reluctant to negotiate their offers, assuming that doing so would be pointless. About 1 in 2 men, and about 1 in 4 women, did negotiate, however. And they were successful in more than 9 of 10 cases

  • 37.8% of recently hired workers said they negotiated their offer
  • There was a substantial gender gap in negotiations, with 49.7% of men saying they negotiated, compared with only 26.6% of women.
    • The main reasons people gave for not negotiating were assuming that the hiring manager had made the best offer they could, believing that the employer was not open to negotiating and wouldn’t change the offer, or simply not thinking that negotiating was an option. 
  • When workers did negotiate their job offers, however, they reported being successful in gaining some form of improvement in more than 9 in 10 cases.
    • Only 7.9% of negotiators saw no improvement in their offer. The rest received some concession—higher pay (47.8%), a signing bonus (17.3%), additional benefits (14.8%), or additional flexibility (12.2%). 
    • Men and women were similarly successful, although women were more likely to report gaining flexibility, whereas men were more likely to report gaining signing bonuses or benefits through their negotiations. 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: You should always negotiate a job offer—whether that means a higher salary, greater schedule flexibility, or different benefits and perks. Check out salaries from real employers, so you know what you are worth.
  • Employers: While pay is typically the most important factor for job seekers, be open to providing other concessions to land your dream candidate like additional benefits or flexibility.

The Death of the Long Daily Commute

The pandemic caused the once-gradual shift towards remote work to accelerate 50 years. The question now is whether remote and hybrid arrangements are here to stay. ZipRecruiter’s survey of new hires shows that while office workers are gradually heading back to their office buildings, many job switchers have taken advantage of a hot labor market to move into remote or hybrid positions. 

  • Hybrid work is the most common arrangement among recent hires, followed by in-person, onsite work.
    • In their new jobs, 39.0% of recent hires have a hybrid work arrangement, working remotely some days of the week and in person some days. Only 27.5% say they had hybrid arrangements in their previous jobs. 
  • In their new jobs, 17.7% of recent hires work remotely all the time. Only 12.4% did so in their previous jobs.
    • The occupation groups with the highest shares of remote hires are research (55.2%), insurance (45.0%), advertising and marketing (39.7%), and professional and business services (29.6%). 
    • Unsurprisingly, the occupation groups with the lowest shares of remote hires are retail (7.8%), the food and beverage industry (8.1%), construction (9.3%), and transportation and delivery (11.1%). 
  • 36.4% of new hires surveyed in Q4 go to an office every day, up from 29.7% of new hires surveyed in Q1—a sign that even while remote roles are expanding, many office workers have returned to their offices over the course of the year as temporary pandemic measures have receded. 
  • Among in-person workers, median commuting times have fallen more than 20% from 30 minutes in their old jobs to 23 minutes in their new jobs, likely through a combination of factors. With employers becoming more flexible about where work is performed, workers with shorter commute times may be the ones most likely to go to the office. Workers may also be more likely to quit jobs with longer commutes, especially in a hot labor market where many closer alternatives exist. 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: While some businesses are returning to the office, many employers are still offering remote opportunities and recruiting candidates regardless of location. Check out remote jobs on ZipRecruiter. 
  • Employers: Flexibility is consistently cited by job seekers as a top consideration when evaluating job opportunities. Making roles remote can give you access to a far wider pool of quality candidates. If you’re not able to offer a fully remote role, hybrid or flexible arrangements can also broaden the appeal of your role.

Trading Up 

Most recent job switchers left their old roles in search of better employment terms. The vast majority are happy that they switched, and say they are satisfied with their new roles. 

  • 83.4% of recently hired Americans surveyed in Q4 said they are satisfied or very satisfied with their new jobs, up from 81.4% of those surveyed in Q1.
  • 92.5% said that they are glad they took their current jobs. Only 7.5% regret their decision and are continuing to look for better matches. 
  • The top reasons respondents gave for leaving their old jobs were wanting more pay (43.6%), better management (31.6%), less stress (30.2%), and better benefits (23.7%). 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: While the grass isn’t always greener, a large majority of those we surveyed were satisfied with their switch to a new role, so don’t feel stuck in a job where you’re unhappy. Every day ZipRecruiter has 12M+ active postings available to search.7 Find your dream role today.
  • Employers: While most candidates are on the search for more pay, many are also interested in softer benefits like better management and less stress, so don’t shy away from highlighting your culture in your job posting and during the recruitment process.

Widespread Ghosting

In a competitive market where job candidates are often juggling multiple offers and employers are navigating economic uncertainty, common courtesy is sometimes forgotten. More than 1 in 5 recent hires admits to ghosting an employer at some point during their last search, and more than 2 in 5 report having been ghosted by an employer.

  • 21.6% of recent hires said that they ghosted an employer during their most recent job search.
    • Men are substantially more likely than women to have ghosted an employer (24.9% vs. 18.5%). 
    • Ghosting is also strongly associated with age, with younger workers (aged 18-34) more than 3x likelier than older workers (aged 55 and up) to say they have ghosted an employer recently. 
  • More than twice as many recent hires (45.2%) said they had been ghosted by an employer during their most recent job search.  

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: You never know where a hiring manager might end up in the future, so it’s best not to burn bridges. While you are not required to keep an employer up-to-date on where you stand, it’s best practice to be responsive, professional, and considerate throughout the hiring process.
  • Employers: Not only are candidates getting scooped up by employers, but they’re getting scooped up fast. And they’re becoming accustomed to hearing back from employers quickly. If you want to remain competitive, you need to be communicative and provide a positive candidate experience. 

Workers on the Move

Despite gaining a pay boost, greater flexibility, and better benefits, employees are by no means locked into their new roles. They are aware that the current labor market is creating opportunities for workers to trade up, and many plan to take advantage of better opportunities should they arise.  

  • 50.6% expect to leave their current job within 2 years. 
  • 32.8% of respondents say they are always casually browsing other job opportunities. 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: If you are someone who likes to keep your eye on the job market and new opportunities that may arise, ZipRecruiter is the place to do it. Every day ZipRecruiter has 12M+ active postings available to search and if you keep your profile up-to-date, employers can even invite you to apply for roles that may be a fit.8 
  • Employers: In 2022, employers saw about 20% more of their employees quit each month, on average, than was normal in pre-Covid 2019—a large increase in employee-driven turnover.9 Our marketplace provides employers with weekly access to over 10M job seekers, so you can find the candidates who are right for you whenever you may need to, and even invite them to apply for your roles.10

Proactive Recruiting

Businesses are increasingly recruiting candidates proactively, rather than simply posting vacancies and waiting for applications to pour in. Recent research based on data from a nationally representative survey of 10,000 workers shows that the percentage hired through recruiting has increased from 4.9% in 1991, to 14.3% in 2022. It also shows that companies have increased the degree to which they employ recruiters. 

Our ZipRecruiter surveys of recent hires suggest that employers have become even more reliant on outbound recruiting since the pandemic. Instead of having to search for jobs, more than 1 in 3 recently hired Americans surveyed said an employer came searching for them. 

  • 36.2% of recent hires got recruited to their current job. In other words, someone from the company reached out to them and invited them to apply for the job before they reached out to the company.
    • Proactive recruiting appears to be most widespread in financial services, where 65.8% of recent hires reported getting recruited, followed by advertising and marketing (60.4%), real estate (58.3%), insurance (56.5%), and professional and business services (52.9%). 
    • Workers recently hired into utilities, food services, retail, and manufacturing were least likely to have been recruited. 

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: Since so many companies are actively searching for potential candidates, using tools like ZipRecruiter’s Resume Database and Invite to Apply, you have a lot to gain as a job seeker from creating a ZipRecruiter profile, keeping it up-to-date, and opting into allowing companies to contact you. 
  • Employers: Browse our Resume Database to find currently active job seekers who have elected to share their resumes with hiring managers, and use our Invite to Apply  tool to proactively reach out to top candidates immediately. 

Swift Reemployment 

Most recently hired workers did not have to search long for their jobs. More than half found their job within a month, and more than 4 in 5 found their job within 3 months. In a tight labor market with more than 10 million job openings, workers are finding reemployment quickly, even after getting laid off. 

  • 54.2% of recent hires say they found their job within a month. An additional 32.4% say it took them 1–3 months to find their job. Only 4.0% took longer than 6 months.
    • Women generally found their jobs more quickly than men did.
  • Among people who were recently laid off and worked in tech previously, 37% found a new job within one month, and 79% found a new job within three months
  • Among people who previously worked in tech, 74% found new jobs in tech, 6% in retail or e-commerce, 5% in financial services or fintech, 2% in healthcare, and the rest in a range of different industries.

What this means for:

  • Job seekers: If you’ve been laid off or fired, take a moment to process what has happened—you won’t be unemployed forever, so don’t rush to make decisions. When you are  ready, use sites like ZipRecruiter that do the hard work for you. Upload your resume once and allow our matching technology to help you find your next career.
  • Employers: Now is an opportune time to scoop up strong talent from industries that have been laying off employees, especially for tech roles. But don’t wait—top talent is moving into new roles quickly.

Additional Findings about the Job Search Process

Search Methods

  • 67.9% of recent hires surveyed in Q4 said they searched for jobs online, up from 64.0% of those surveyed in Q1.
  • 59.8% found their current job online, up from 54.2% in February.
    • Workers aged 35-44 were most likely to have found their job online, with younger and older workers less so. 
  • The top source of information respondents relied on in their job search was job search sites. Far behind were social media sites, friends, family members, coworkers or classmates, discussion boards, print job ads, and teachers or mentors. 

Job Interviews

  • 39.5% of recent hires had in-person interviews for their current roles, and 25.5% had virtual interviews.
  • 18.9% of recent hires were required  to take a skills assessment to get their current job, and 7.8% had to prepare an assignment or presentation as part of their interview process. 
  • 4 was the median number of job interviews respondents conducted over the course of their most recent job search, across all companies. 2 was the median number of job interviews respondents conducted for their current job. 

Job Offers

  • 40.2% of recent hires only received and entertained one job offer during their most recent search, whereas 53.7% received 2-3 job offers. 
  • 16.3% of recent hires said they had an offer rescinded at some point during their most recent job search.
  1. A nationally representative survey of 2,550+ U.S. residents who are currently employed and started their jobs in the prior 6 months, conducted by ZipRecruiter, Inc., Oct. 17 to Oct. 30, 2022.  
  2. A nationally representative survey of 2,000+ U.S. residents who are currently employed and started their jobs in the prior 6 months, conducted by ZipRecruiter, Inc., Feb. 9 to Feb. 21, 2022.
  3. ZipRecruiter Internal Data, average Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.
  4. Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker by Job Switcher/Stayer, at
  5. ZipRecruiter Internal Data, Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 2021. Includes Only ZipApply subscriber jobs.
  6. The Diffusion Index is a measure of the breadth of job gains across private sector industries. Numbers above 50 indicate that more industries are contributing job gains than losses. The total private 1-month diffusion index has been above 60 for most of the year in 2022, higher than usual. See U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics, Table B, Diffusion Index, at
  7. ZipRecruiter Internal Data, daily average Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 2021.
  8. ZipRecruiter Internal Data, daily average Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 2021.
  9. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, Jan. 2018 to Nov. 2022. Between January and November of 2022, the latest month for which data was available at the time of publication, 4.2 million workers quit their jobs each month, on average. That was 20.1% higher than in pre-Covid 2019, and 25.6% higher than in 2018. 
  10. ZipRecruiter Internal Data, weekly Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2021. Includes registered and non-registered users. May be non-unique.

Written by

Julia Pollak is Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter. She leads ZipRecruiter's economic research team, which provides insights and analysis on current labor market trends and the future of work.

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