How does smartphone dependency effect mobile job search?

12.13.2017 / Zachery Tweddell

Director, Marketing & Innovation

Today, it seems that if you don’t have a smartphone, you’re an anomaly. The statistics would seem to support that as the most recent PEW report on the topic states that 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, with 77% of those considered smartphones.


Of that 77%, we started to dig into how many of the ~248 million people that represents are classified as “dependent” on their phone. For this purpose, we’re viewing dependent as those who have no home internet connection but own a smartphone.


The answer leans heavily towards younger adults (17% aged 18-29), non-whites (15% black & 23% Hispanic) and lower-income Americans (21% earning less than $30,000/year).


How does that translate to mobile job search?


Generationally, the statistics align, with Millennials (78%) and Baby Boomers (73%) by far the most active job seekers on a mobile device, according to Indeed. When we look at low-income Americans, 61% of job seekers who are willing to fill out an online application on a smartphone have a high school degree or less. This suggests that young Americans with a lack of higher education are a perfect audience for mobile ad targeting.


With that said, as an employer, how do I know which jobs are not only a good fit for those candidates, but also a good fit for mobile job search? Thanks to additional figures from Indeed, we know that “Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance (80.28%)” and “Construction (79.79%)” are the most searched job categories on a mobile device. So, with that in mind, do these jobs resonate with an audience that has a high school degree or less? According to U.S. News, yes. In a recent study of the 25 Best Jobs for high school Graduates, Brickmason (15), Plumber (10), Electrician (9) and Maintenance & Repair Worker (7) are all ranked.


What if we flip the study on its head? When does prioritizing mobile NOT make sense?


Indeed reports that, the rates of mobile search are lowest among people working in Business & Financial (57.13%), Legal (57.46%), Architecture & Engineering (52.55%) and Computer/Mathematical (45.38%) fields. Coupled with the fact that they all require at least a college degree and command some of the highest annual salaries in the U.S., we know that potential candidates for those roles are not classified as “dependent” on their smartphone. Additionally, based on the level of education required, it can be assumed that most qualified candidates will be unlikely to fill out a job application on their mobile device.


While we clearly recognize the importance of mobile job search and optimization when striving for a well-rounded candidate experience, it’s important to base your recruitment strategies on the candidate experience and not the latest industry trends. For example, we continue to see that, across many industries, the application process converts at a higher rate on desktop that it does on mobile. For companies with stringent budget constraints, maybe a desktop only approach is the right model to push for a more efficient ROI.


For help creating a strategy based on your ideal candidate and improving the efficiency of your media spend, click here. We would love to talk in more detail.