Washington, DC - Do you think the job search is broken? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by the National Institute of Subjective Statistics, 79% of job seekers report feeling “somewhat” or “extremely” dissatisfied with their own candidate experience or search.
That’s why a growing number of concerned candidates are taking matters into their own hands and calling for a national boycott on searching for jobs.
Candidates Anonymous, the name most commonly used for the grassroots movement spearheading the boycott initiative, has issued a public call for inaction, urging all workers to immediately discontinue any activity related to recruiting or hiring.
Ronald McGee, a former Sarbanes-Oxley consultant who also serves as an official spokesman for the organization, shared his own experiences at a press conference announcing the boycott earlier this week.
“Since I got laid off back in 2009, I’ve applied for literally thousands of jobs,” McGee said, “But I only got maybe a half dozen responses, and that’s including the e-mails giving me the heads up that I was out.”
McGee estimates that he spent an average of 15-30 minutes on each of these applications, which by even the most conservative estimates equates to approximately the equivalent of two years of full time work on the job search process alone. New research shows that Mr. McGee is not, in fact alone.
A recent study by researchers at the University of California-Compton suggests that global workers spent an estimated 1.7 trillion man hours searching, applying and interviewing for jobs in 2012 alone.
The study, out in this month’s Journal of Specious Sociology, shows that were job search paid at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, it would generate more income than any other sector of the global economy, far more than manufacturing, agriculture and business services combined.
In addition to the boycott, Candidates Anonymous has also retained legal representation to explore a potential class action lawsuit to recover at least some of these funds. “Loss of income or ability to generate income has a long legal precedent as being a compelling reason for the awarding of compensatory damages during civil suits,” said Howard Silverman, lead counsel for the group, who adds that he too has been unable to find a full time role as a corporate attorney since 2009.
While that could add up to billions in recoverable damages for employers, the immediate effect of the boycott is likely to have a much greater short term effect – and impact – on companies around the world.
At a downtown protest earlier this week, Candidates Anonymous member Jeff Trellis, seen carrying a hand-painted sign reading: “Put This In Your Black Hole,” said he and other members were committed to boycotting job search and recruiting related activities for “as long as it takes to get the message across” that candidates deserve what the organization is calling “total time and effort parity.”
“Without people applying for jobs, refusing to take recruiter’s phone calls or updating their resumes or LinkedIn profiles, employers are going to understand that they need us worse than we need them,” Trellis said. “It’s true that people really are an organization’s greatest asset; take away job seekers and suddenly, you take away their ability to run their business.”
Allan Richardson, SPHR and head of global talent for global technology provider CloudSoft, said that he and many other talent and human capital leaders were unsure of how to react to the news of the boycott.
“On the one hand, if they succeed, we’re going to be in big trouble putting butts in seats – I mean, uh, executing on strategic talent acquisition and workforce planning initiatives. On the other hand, if no one is looking for a job, then we don’t really have to worry about retention, so I guess I’m just kinda interested to see what happens.”