Recruitment Marketing Update, Q1 2022: Costs Eased Despite Tight Labor Market

Author: Andrew Flowers
19 Apr 22
recruitonomics Recruitment Marketing Update, Q1 2022

Recruiting became less expensive in Q1 2022, despite it being a workers’ market: ample openings for job seekers to choose from, with more vacancies than the number of unemployed, and rising wages. That said, recruiting costs are still significantly up over the last two years. 

At Recruitonomics, we utilize a world-class dataset from Appcast to track recruitment marketing costs. Appcast manages more than $1 billion annually in job advertising spending, for over 1,500 clients; our database includes over 10 billion job clicks, nearly 2 billion applications, and more than one billion job postings across thousands of job boards. 

Why should we care about recruitment marketing data?  For two main reasons: first, they’re a key input for HR and talent acquisition professionals, helping them budget what it takes to meet their staffing needs. Secondly, recruitment marketing can be a leading labor market indicator. There is a relationship between real-time indicators like Appcast job postings and the gold-standard government metrics from JOLTS. 

Take the chart below, which takes 11 industries from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and compares the changes to the number of job postings in the Appcast database from February 2020 to February 2022. 

In Q1 2022, we found that the median cost per click (CPC) declined by 5.4%, from $1.12 in December 2021 to $1.06 in March 2022. Despite the moderation in Q1, CPC costs are far higher today than two years ago. Since March 2022, the median CPC is up a shocking 71%, from $0.62 to $1.06. We explored the source of these higher recruiting costs in a previous blog post.

The median apply rates increased in Q1 2022, from 3.8% in December 2021 to 3.95% in March 2022. This is in line with where apply rates were in March 2020, but is an increase over last year. 

Taken together – falling CPC bids and an uptick in apply rates – translates into lower recruiting costs. The median cost per application (CPA) stood at $28.31, having declined 11.6% from December 2021 to March 2022. But just as with CPC trends, the median CPA is up 66% over the past two years. 

Recruitment marketing costs vary by occupation, of course. Healthcare and transportation roles are currently expensive to recruit for, with typical CPAs of around $45 and $52, respectively. On the cheaper side, retail and finance jobs’ CPAs currently hover around $21.

In the first three months of 2022, the occupations with the largest increase in CPA were transportation (+6.3%), construction & skilled trades (+3.7%), and warehousing & logistics (+2.0%).

However, recruiting costs largely declined for most occupations in Q1. Those with the largest decrease in CPA were legal (-37%), insurance (-27%), and real estate (-24%) but over the last two years, almost all occupations have seen at least a modest increase in recruiting costs during this tight labor market. (The only occupation to have a lower CPA from two years ago is insurance.) 

Recruitonomics seeks to utilize Appcast’s data to equip HR and talent acquisition leaders with cutting-edge information. Stay tuned for more regular updates on benchmark metrics for recruitment marketing or for a full year look at these benchmarks, download Appcast’s 2022 Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report.

Andrew Flowers
Labor Economist

Sign up to receive the latest updates!

Turbulence in the United Kingdom

30 Sep 22
It’s been a turbulent week for the United Kingdom. Puzzling financial policy and political drama latched onto an ongoing energy crisis and a tight labour market, triggering volatility not seen in at least 20 years. 
6 minutes

Retail Sector Responds to Uncertainty

28 Sep 22
Retailers face uncertainty heading into the holiday season. Several factors will impact their seasonal hiring goals this year.
3 minutes