What is hiring difficulty?

Hiring difficulty is a score on a scale of 1-10 that represents how difficult we expect it will be to fill the role you’ve searched for. The higher the score, the harder we expect it to be to find candidates for the role.


In countries for which supply data is available, hiring difficulty takes four factors into account:

  • Relative supply (supply divided by demand)

  • Typical posting duration

  • Change in demand

  • Competitive concentration


In countries for which supply data is unavailable, hiring difficulty takes three factors into account:

  • Typical posting duration

  • Change in demand

  • Competitive concentration



How can I use this data?

You can use hiring difficulty to get a sense of how difficult it will be to find candidates for different roles or in different locations.




Acquire: Where do you get your data?

Three of the factors used to calculate hiring difficulty – posting duration, change in demand, and competitive concentration – are based on demand data alone. One factor – relative supply – is based on demand as well as supply. (As a reminder, relative supply is not a factor in countries where supply data is unavailable.)


Our demand data is based on job postings from thousands of sources, including job boards, corporate sites, partner feeds, news sites, staffing websites, and applicant tracking systems. Learn more about our demand data.


Our supply data is based on results from national government censuses and labor market surveys. Learn more about our supply data. 



Organize: How do you prepare the data for analysis?

Both job posting data and census/labor market data must be processed and standardized before being used to calculate hiring difficulty. Read more about how we prepare our demand and supply data for analysis.



Analyze: How do you calculate hiring difficulty?

In countries where supply data is available, we calculate hiring difficulty using four factors:

  • Relative supply: Relative supply refers to the number of qualified candidates per relevant job posting. We estimate the number of people (supply) matching your search and divide this figure by the number of jobs matching your search (demand).

    In Recruit, the demand component of relative supply is calculated using current job postings. In Plan, the demand component of relative supply is calculated using the past years’ worth of job postings.

  • Typical posting duration: Typical posting duration refers to the number of days that a job posting matching your query remains online before it expires or is removed. We calculate the number of days that 75% of similar, closed postings were online for during the past year. We believe that the 75th percentile is more reflective of the recruiter’s experience than the average or median.


  • Change in demand: Demand refers to the number of job postings that meet your search criteria. Change in demand is the percent change between the number of similar job postings currently online and the number of similar job postings online during the recent past. To determine whether a change in demand is out of the ordinary, we compare the number of similar job postings currently online to the number of similar postings 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months ago.


  • Competitive concentration: Competitive concentration refers to the level of competition you face in trying to hire a candidate in a particular location. We calculate competitive concentration using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), a well-established measure of market concentration.


In countries where supply data is unavailable, we calculate hiring difficulty using all factors except relative supply.



Deliver: How do you represent hiring difficulty?

We represent hiring difficulty as a whole number ranging from 1 (less difficult to hire) to 10 (very difficult to hire).




More about hiring difficulty:


What do relative supply, posting duration, change in demand, and competitive concentration have to do with hiring difficulty?


Why don’t I see relative supply as a factor in hiring difficulty?


What countries do you have supply data for?


Why isn’t supply data available for my country?


What location types do you have hiring difficulty data for?


What job attributes impact hiring difficulty?



What do relative supply, posting duration, change in demand, and competitive concentration have to do with hiring difficulty?


  • Relative supply: Relative supply refers to the number of qualified candidates per relevant job posting. When the number of qualified candidates per posting is low, employers find it harder to fill their positions. Conversely, when the number of qualified candidates per posting is high, employers have an easier time finding qualified applicants.


  • Typical posting duration: Typical post duration is the number of days that a job posting remains online before it is removed or expires. The typical post duration reflects the ease or difficulty with which other organizations have filled similar positions. The longer that a job has been online, the more difficult we assume it is for the organization to fill that position. All other things equal, a longer post duration corresponds with a higher hiring difficulty, and a shorter post duration corresponds with a lower hiring difficulty.


  • Change in demand: Demand refers to the number of similar jobs in a given market. Demand for a specific role can change suddenly for a number of reasons. For example, organizations may enter, exit, or change their strategy in a given market, local governments may pass new policies, or a natural disaster may occur. Demand also fluctuates seasonally as part of larger economic cycles. For example, there is often an increase in demand for retail workers around the holidays.

    When measuring change in demand, we calculate how much the current demand deviates from the demand of the previous year. A recent increase in demand usually makes hiring more difficult, while a recent decrease often makes hiring easier.


  • Competitive concentration: Competitive concentration refers to the level of competition faced in trying to fill a role in a particular location. A dispersed market (low competitive concentration) means that you are competing with a larger number of more evenly-matched organizations. A concentrated market (high competitive concentration) means that you are competing with a smaller number of more dominant organizations. 

    The greater the competitive concentration, the greater the hiring difficulty. In a more concentrated market, a few organizations usually dominate job boards and have strong brand awareness. These organizations also tend to dictate the terms of the market. For example, candidates may come to expect the salary and benefits of the dominant organization in a given location.



Why don’t I see relative supply as a factor in hiring difficulty?

This is because we don’t have supply data for the country you’ve searched for. Relative supply is not used to calculate hiring difficulty in countries where supply data is unavailable.



What countries do you have supply data for?
We provide supply data for the following countries:


ArgentinaGermany
Poland
AustraliaIndiaRussia
AustriaIrelandSingapore
BelgiumItalySouth Africa
BrazilJapanSweden
CanadaMexicoSwitzerland
ChinaNetherlandsUnited Kingdom
CzechiaNew ZealandUnited States
DenmarkNorway
FrancePhilippines



Why isn’t supply data available for my country?

In many countries, government data simply is not available. In others, the data is available, but the coverage within the country is uneven, or the data itself is unreliable. In these instances, we prefer not to provide data at all than to provide data that doesn't meet our standards.



What location types do you have hiring difficulty data for?

A hiring difficulty score will display for all location types – country, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), county, and city. But because we can only provide supply at the MSA level, the hiring difficulty score for cities or counties will use the supply of the parent MSA in the relative supply subcomponent.



What job attributes impact hiring difficulty?

All of the job attributes in our search experience impact hiring difficulty: function, occupation, industry (when available), employer, skills, certifications, title, experience level, education level, employment type, and keywords. However, because certain attributes do not impact supply (, education level, and employment), these factors are not taken into account when determining the supply aspect of relative supply (supply divided by demand).