Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using the Internet may harm, not help, people find a job

14.08.2003


Contrary to popular belief, using the Internet may not improve a person’s chances of finding a job.



That surprising finding will be presented Tuesday (Aug. 18) during a session on economic sociology at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Atlanta by Christine Fountain, a University of Washington doctoral student.

"The punch line is everyone thinks the Internet is a great new way to help people find a job. But it really is not," said Fountain, who used a sample of monthly U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics data of 50,000 American households to track two groups of unemployed workers. Supplemental surveys by the bureau collected information on computer ownership and usage, access to and usage of the Internet and the methods people used to find jobs.


The differences between people who used the Internet as part of their job search strategy and those who didn’t were small, but statistically significant among a sample of more than 650 people who were unemployed and looking for work, according to Fountain. In the first group who reported being unemployed in August 1998, those who utilized the Internet were 3 percent more likely to have found a job within three months than those who did not use it.

However, among the second group who reported being out of work in December 2000, those individuals who used the Internet were 4 percent less likely to have found a job in three months than non-users.

Fountain said the prime reasons for this were the quality of job information available on the Internet, the surge of people using the Internet as a job search tool and the flood of resumes that has made it more difficult and time-consuming for employers to sort through job applicants.

"There is a distinction between having a lot of information from the Internet and the quality of that information," she said. "There is a lot of information on the Internet that is very useful, but not necessarily about jobs. Sites such as Monster.com don’t tell you which jobs you are suited for and those where you have a real chance of being hired."

Fountain found that the Internet became less valuable in finding a job as more Americans began using it to search for work. Just 13 percent used the Internet as part of their job search in August 1998, but that number virtually doubled to 25 percent in December 2000. Whites and well-educated individuals were the primary users of the Internet in the earlier group of job searchers. But that changed by late 2000.

"As Internet use increased, people from all walks of life began using it in job searches," she said. "It has become a standard part of how people look for a job, even as it appears to have lost the advantage it may have once offered."

Early use of the Internet may have helped applicants for certain types of jobs, Fountain said, because it could have signaled employers that an applicant was a savvy, skilled worker. However, as Internet usage jumped, that advantage disappeared, creating a problem for employers – too many applicants.

"While the Internet makes it very easy to find job postings, employers are becoming overwhelmed by a glut of resumes from applicants. They have to balance the ease of applications against the cost of screening all the applicants. And as the number of applications increase, the more employers may need to rely on recommendations from people who know applicants," she said.

Although the Census Bureau does not collect data on this, Fountain speculated that people increasingly may be using the Internet to get more valuable employment information from acquaintances.

"Social contacts are really important in finding jobs. People are joining online communities, and acquaintances, such as professional contacts or people they went to school with, can be sources of good information on what is going on in the job market. And as employers continue to get huge stacks of job applicants, personal recommendations become more important as a way to distinguish between potential employees," she said.

According to Fountain, anecdotal information suggests that many of the jobs found through the Internet were either entry level or temporary positions. Overall, 52 percent of people in the study who were looking for jobs in August 1998 found employment within three months. In December 2000, 61 percent found jobs. At both times, the unemployment rate was under 4 percent, considerably lower than the current rate.

"People have the idea that the Internet is changing everything," she said. "To a certain extent it has, but when it comes to finding a job it still matters who you know. Just because you know about more jobs does not necessarily mean that you will get any of those jobs."


###
For more information, contact Fountain at cmf@u.washington.edu or leave a message at 206-543-5882.
She will be in Atlanta Aug. 17-19 and can reached by cell phone at 206-355-6690.

Joel Schwarz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior

23.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Study identifies RNA molecule that shields breast cancer stem cells from immune system

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>