Monster’s 2019 State of the Candidate Survey

Monster’s 2019 State of the Candidate Survey

The current labor market is stronger than it has been in years, if not decades. In fact, the last BLS report of 2018 showed that there are 6.9 million job openings, but only 6.3 million unemployed people seeking work.

Despite what appears to be an abundance of opportunity, there are a lot of people who feel stuck  and unsure of how to find the right fit in a new job or different position.

In order to better understand the challenges and opportunities in the search for employment, we surveyed 1,000 current full-time employees, ages 18-65, in the United States.

What follows are four  sets of data from Monster’s 2019 State of the Candidate Survey ”The Changing Definition of Retirement,  The Employment Gap & Layoffs,  Respect & Threats to Current Job and The Job Search Outlook.



On average, Americans hope to retire at age 62 ”and younger Americans (18-24-year-olds) see themselves retiring even earlier, at age 56.

  • Unsurprisingly, older Americans (55-65) expect themselves to retire later in life, at age 67 on average.
  • 401k/retirement benefits are listed among the most important benefits for all Americans (57%), though this is understandably higher among older Americans (64% of 55-65-year-olds) than younger Americans (49% of 18-24-year-olds).



Three in five Americans (59%) have been unemployed or had a gap in their career

  • Top reasons for this gap included:
    • Family-related reason (48%), including:
      • Taking time off to raise a family (longer than maternity/paternity leave) (18%)
        • Higher among women (26%) than men (9%)
      • Maternity/paternity leave (15%)
        • Higher among women (21%) than men (8%)
      • Needing to take care of a sick family member or friend (15%)
        • Higher among younger Americans (22% of those 18-34) than older Americans (10% of those 35-65)
    • Being laid off (37%)
      • Higher among men (43%) than women (31%)
    • Needing a break from work (18%)
      • Higher among younger Americans (24% of 18-34-year-olds) than older Americans (15% of 35-65-year-olds)
    • Being fired (16%)
    • Going back to school (13%)
  • What’s more, the average gap in employment is over two years (25 months).

Over half of Americans (59%) have experienced an unexpected gap in their career, and over one-third (37%) of those have experienced a gap say it was due to layoffs

  • Among those who have lost a job unexpectedly (lost their job or fired), 43% have had it happen more than once
  • Regardless of whether or not they’ve been laid off before, half of Americans (48%) do not feel very secure in their current position (either just somewhat secure or insecure all together) ”and company layoffs are a major reason why.
  • Top reasons why Americans do not feel secure in their current job include:
    • Company layoffs (38%)
    • Concern they’re not meeting expectations (23%)
    • Feelings that the boss doesn’t trust in them (16%)


One in seven Americans (14%) did not feel respected during their last job search

  • Of the 14% of Americans who did not feel respected, they say the following would have helped them feel more respected by recruiters and potential employers:
    • Being told why they weren’t moved to the next stage (32%)
    • Recruiters followed up in a timely fashion after the interview (31%)
    • Company acknowledged receipt of application (28%)
    • Knowing if the application had been seen by a recruiter or hiring manager (27%)
    • Recruiter/hiring manager sent a rejection in a timely fashion (23%)
    • You were told you’d be considered for future opportunities (23%)
  • Respect is also a key driver for job satisfaction: people who are currently happy with their job cite feeling respected (45%) as among the top reasons for their satisfaction.

Three-quarters of Americans (77%) believe there are threats to their current job, such as new management (20%) and a toxic boss or working environment (19%)

  • Top perceived threats include:
    • New management (20%)
    • Toxic boss or working environment (19%)
    • Layoffs (17%)
    • Recession (16%)
      • That said, 62% of Americans think a recession in the next two years is likely ”so while many expect a recession, fewer expect it to directly threaten their job.
    • Younger co-workers (15%)
    • Industry changes requiring new skills (14%)
    • Automation/technology replacing jobs (10%)
  • While 72% of Americans overall believe the job seeker has the upper hand in terms of having job options and negotiation power, younger Americans may be disproportionately benefitting from the modern search process:   83% of 18-24-year-olds and 84% of 25-34-year-olds say they have the upper hand, vs. 64% of 35-65-year-olds.
  • One in three Americans (33%) believe searching for a job today is harder than when they first started in their career.


One in three (33%) Americans plan on looking for a new job this year

  • This is even higher among 18-34-year-olds: 48% plan to look for a new job this year
  • Ninety percent of those planning to look for a new job expect to do so within the first three months of 2019
  • While 54% believe the process would be easy if they had to look for a new job tomorrow, the other half of Americans (46%) believe it would be hard

Three-quarters (75%) of Americans have had a job where they didn’t feel they were a good fit

  • Half (51%) of Americans have felt this way in 2 or more jobs
  • Among those who have felt like a bad fit at a job, only 14% were able to tell right away when they started. For many it took weeks (41%) or months (39%)
  • Nearly all Americans (95%) agree that overall fit is important when it comes to their happiness at work ”with 62% believing it is very important

Another three-quarters of Americans think that video will play a role in job searching in the future

  • Seventy-two percent anticipate video in the future job search, but expected uses vary:
    • Video call with recruiters/potential employers in the interview process: 36%
    • Video resume: 33%
    • Video job description: 27%
    • Video application submission: 25%
    • Video featuring a recruiter describing a job ad: 22%
  • Younger Americans (83% 18-34-year-olds) are more likely to see a role for video in the job search process than older Americans (64% 35-65-year-olds)
  • Eighty percent of Americans agree a video of a recruiter talking about a role as part of a job ad would help them better understand a job opportunity
  • Thirty-two percent of Americans do not believe that a traditional resume adequately conveys their value to employers ”and this is substantially higher among older Americans (48% 55-65-year-olds)