If you’re in a rush to find a new job, forget pounding the pavement. Try pounding a keyboard instead.
That’s the general conclusion of a new study co-authored by a University of Colorado Denver professor who found that jobseekers that turn to the Internet to search for employment reduced their unemployed time by approximately 25 percent.
The study, conducted by Assistant Professor of Economics Hani Mansour, Ph.D. and University of California at Santa Barbara Economics Professor Peter Kuhn, refutes a 2004 study, which concluded that using the Internet actually lengthened the amount of time a jobseeker was unemployed.
“We speculate that significant improvements in technology over this period, ranging from better on-line job sites to network externalities associated with greater overall Internet penetration itself, might explain this change over time,” they said in the study.
Mansour and Kuhn’s study states that significant improvements in technology and the quality of online job-seeking tools as the factors behind the effectiveness of the Internet as an employment tool today.
The two researchers say that today’s job sites are far better designed and more user friendly than they were 10 years ago and add that many of the sites are specific to the needs of the job seeker. For instance, in addition to general job boards such as Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com, there are job websites specifically dedicated to medical professionals, executives, writers, designers, musicians, etc.
In addition, Mansour and Kuhn point to the usefulness of the Internet in connecting with family and friends who can aid in the job search and reduce the unemployment time. Mansour said that 10 years ago, those without personal contacts who turned to the Internet did so with little success. But today, sites such as LinkedIn, which can combine personal contacts with the job search process, have drastically increased the job-seekers outreach and their possible success at finding employment.
That reality, the study stated, has resulted in a dramatic increased in the number of young unemployed workers who use the Internet to search for a job. From 1998 to 2000, the number of young unemployed workers who used the web to find work stood at 25 percent. By 2008-2009, that number skyrocketed to 74 percent.
“This hypothesis is certainly consistent with our findings that the Internet is highly effective when used to look at ads, to send out resumes and to fill applications,” the study said. “Simply because the Internet now connects each work to many more firms (and vice versa) in several new and low-cost ways it may be a more powerful tool in the job search process than it was a decade ago.”
While the Internet may be a useful new tool in finding a job, it may not supply everything a jobseeker wants.
“What we don’t find is that online job search increases wages compared to the worker’s last job,” said Mansour.