Missed Opportunity: Nearly Half of Job Descriptions Do Not Mention Benefits, Leading to Lower Candidate Attraction: New Appcast Report

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Appcast, the global leader in programmatic recruitment advertising technology and services, today unveiled its “Job Ad Content: How Benefits Impact Candidate Attraction” report. The report examines a representative sample of 100,000 job descriptions across 23 industries/job functions from Jan. 1 – July 31, 2021, revealing how employers’ benefits (healthcare, family, additional compensation, education & professional development and paid time off) impact apply rates – a key performance indicator for job advertising that measures conversions from click to submitted application on a job ad.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Despite a tight labor market, only 52% of job descriptions mention benefits, highlighting a missed opportunity to attract more candidates as including benefits leads to a 22% increase in apply rate.
  • The offer of regular, incremental bonuses proved to boost apply rates by over 150%, which is more than any other benefit.
  • Despite employers’ efforts to entice candidates with signing bonuses, warehousing & logistics was the only industry that saw a correlation between signing bonus mentions and increased apply rates.
  • Although the pandemic has elevated the importance of mental wellness among job seekers, behavioral health benefits were only included in 2.9% of job descriptions.
  • Overall, Appcast finds that pet insurance is a benefit that positively impacts apply rates by 37%.

The Benefit of Benefits is Clear

Appcast found that only 52% of the job descriptions analyzed mentioned any of these benefits. Overall, job ads that mentioned none of the benefits had an aggregate apply rate of 5.0%. Job ads with one or more of these benefits had an aggregate apply rate of 6.1% (22% higher). In a job seekers’ market, including benefits within job ads presents an opportunity for employers to improve candidate attraction.

Job Seekers Prioritize Health and Pet Benefits

Healthcare benefits in job descriptions (including health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and mental health benefits) were generally associated with higher apply rates. While vision insurance was mentioned frequently in job descriptions, there was no positive impact on apply rate.

Pet insurance seems to be growing in popularity, driving a 37% increase in apply rates. It should be noted that pet insurance was most often mentioned in job descriptions containing four or more benefits.

Despite the pandemic further emphasizing the importance of mental health, just a fraction of job descriptions mentioned behavioral health benefits, yet Appcast observed that the inclusion of this benefit correlated with an increase in apply rate in several industries and/or job functions.

  • Science & engineering jobs were impacted the most by healthcare benefits, with job descriptions that mention healthcare benefits seeing an increase of nearly 40% in average apply rate
  • Marketing & advertising jobs demonstrated the strongest correlation between increased apply rates and health insurance mentions – job descriptions that included this benefit saw an increase of nearly 50% in average apply rate.
  • Within the healthcare industry, job descriptions that mentioned pet insurance saw an increase of nearly 70% in average apply rate.

Despite Hyping Signing Bonuses, Regular Incremental Bonuses Take the Cake

Upon studying the impact of additional compensation benefits on job advertising performance, Appcast found that including regular, incremental bonuses most dramatically increased apply rates. Despite employers’ efforts at enticing candidates with signing bonuses, warehousing & logistics was the only industry that saw a correlation between increased apply rates and signing bonus mentions. When job descriptions mentioned stock options or employee stock purchase plans, the ads yielded a higher apply rate across a variety of disciplines. Likewise, including 401(k) in a job description is a draw for some disciplines, but overall this individual benefit did not have as dramatic of an impact on apply rates as others.

  • Regular, incremental bonuses impacted apply rates the most, especially in the customer service function and technology industry. Customer service jobs saw an increase of nearly 150% in apply rates when they included these bonuses; technology jobs saw a 130% lift in apply rate. Interestingly, this benefit did not boost apply rates in the food service and transportation industries, which are grappling with severe pandemic-related labor shortages.
  • Science & engineering jobs saw the largest stock-related increase in apply rates, with jobs descriptions that include stock specifics increasing the average apply rate by over 100%.
  • Within the warehousing & logistics industry, signing bonuses proved enticing to candidates; job descriptions that included this benefit saw a 60% increase in apply rates. Referral bonuses, stock options and 401(k) benefits in warehouse & logistics industry job descriptions also correlated with an increase in apply rate, which provides meaningful insight for employers to not only attract but retain employees as current labor shortages across this industry creates supply chain challenges.

Mentions of Family Benefits Remains Rare Across Most Industries

Appcast examined mentions of parental leave, adoption, onsite childcare and childcare benefits in job ads. In general, parental leave is not a benefit regularly mentioned in job descriptions.

  • Parental leave was only included in 2.4% of the job descriptions in Appcast’s sample.
  • Adoption benefits were rarely mentioned.

Tuition Assistance Entices Food Service Job Seekers

Appcast also measured the impact of various professional and education benefits including tuition assistance, student loan repayment and professional development. With respect to student loan repayment and professional development, both benefits were hardly mentioned and, when they were, did not result in higher apply rates in most industries. However, tuition assistance did lead to a measurable increase in apply rates across some industries such as food service and science & engineering.

  • Student loan repayment was mentioned in just 3.9% of job descriptions.
  • Appcast found that tuition assistance had a greater impact on apply rates than any other professional development or education benefit; for example, the inclusion of tuition assistance increased apply rates by 36% in food service and 20% in science & engineering.

Paid Time Off Benefits Inconsistently Included

In investigating the impact of paid vacation, paid personal time, paid sick time and other offerings on apply rates, Appcast found paid personal time and other offerings (including paid sabbatical, relocation assistance and paid lodging) were not mentioned enough to draw conclusions on their impact. For many industries, paid vacation was associated with a higher apply rate. Paid sick time was mentioned infrequently in job ads; however, it did correlate with increased apply rates in the business & consumer services and healthcare industries.

  • The mention of paid vacation proved motivating for marketing & advertising and administration job seekers; this benefit increased the apply rate by nearly 64% in marketing & advertising and 33% in administration.
  • Business & consumer services and healthcare jobs saw the highest increase when they included paid sick time. Mentioning paid sick time resulted in nearly 40% higher apply rates in business & consumer services and 20% higher apply rates in healthcare.

“Our analysis of apply rates reveals that certain benefits are more enticing to job seekers than others, depending on the industry or job function in which you’re hiring. Unfortunately, our findings also indicate that nearly half of job ads make no mention of benefits in their job descriptions at all,” said Heather Salerno, senior vice president of marketing at Appcast. “This highlights an opportunity for hiring organizations, especially in the current labor market. Including benefits, particularly the right benefits for your job seeker audience, in job descriptions can help increase apply rates and boost recruitment results. With this report, we aim to empower businesses to evaluate the benefits they offer, adapt their job advertising strategies accordingly and attract qualified candidates to the roles they need to fill.”

The “Job Ad Content: How Benefits Impact Candidate Attraction” report was developed by Appcast with a focus on how healthcare, family, additional compensation, education & professional development and paid time off benefits impacted apply rates. Appcast looked at 7.6 million job ads for the period January 1 through July 31, 2021. These job ads corresponded to approximately 500,000 distinct job descriptions (many job ads use the same job description). Appcast then randomly selected 100,000 job descriptions for a representative sample. The average apply rate remained consistent at 5.4%. When looking at benefits by individual industry/job function, Appcast researchers established a threshold of at least 100 mentions per benefit.

To download Appcast’s “Job Ad Content: How Benefits Impact Candidate Attraction” report, go to: https://info.appcast.io/whitepaper/how-benefits-impact-candidate-attraction-pr.

About Appcast
Appcast is the global leader in programmatic recruitment advertising technology and services. With advanced technology, unmatched market data and a team of the industry’s best recruitment marketers, Appcast’s technology and services manage over half a billion dollars in job advertising annually on behalf of more than 1,500 clients. Headquartered in Lebanon, N.H. with offices in Boston, Mass., New Brunswick, Canada and Minsk, Belarus, Appcast is a subsidiary of StepStone, one of the world’s largest job classified businesses. To learn more, visit https://www.appcast.io/ and follow on Twitter @appcast_io.