How Many Candidates Per Job?

I came across a couple of interactive job market tools on the Reed website today which you might find interesting – or scary, depending on which jobs you’re after.

Reed is one of the biggest agencies in the UK with a strong web presence. Currently, they claim they are advertising over 100,000 jobs from over 9,500 recruiters – but they have over 2 million candidates registered with them. So how do you assess the odds of being the one candidate out of all the others to land the particular job you want? Have a play around with these:

  • Starting at their home page for Candidates, you can see the number of jobs they’re advertising currently, and can drill down to see the numbers by sector and sub-sector, eg Graduate jobs (7585)  in Financial Services (265) and by location eg North West (29)
  • Heading over to their Recruiters page, you can find out their “audience” – the number of candidates on their books for each type of job. It’s not refined to the same extent, but, for example, you can see the number of candidates looking for Graduate Roles in the North West (11,608)

The caveats :

  • they’re not giving you all the data you’d need to work out detailed odds
  • candidates will be looking for more than one type of job
  • obviously, it’s only for one agency and for some types of job/employer, it wouldn’t be the first place they advertised

For all that, it does give you an idea of how popular certain jobs are and how many current ads there are on a large database.

The other tool which I found interesting was their “Market Index“. For each sector and subsector (eg either all engineering, or just electronic engineering), for a given location (eg North West) and for permanent or temporary jobs, it shows the number of job ads they’ve carried graphed over the last 12 months, plus the average salary.


The salaries will be averaged over a wide range of different level roles, so not sure how useful that graph is, but the job count is informative, and shows a depressingly familiar story – apart from a big jump in the number of ads in January for most sectors. (There is also a reassuring upturn shown after the final February figure, but as it appears on all the graphs, I suspect this may be “a quirk” of the way they display the figures – I’ll check again when they give next month’s figures.)

One final caveat, as employers have to pay agencies a fee when the agency finds the employer a candidate, some of the downturn may be a reflection of employers finding enough applicants through direct speculative applications – another good reason to get your CV into likely employers, and not just wait for the ads.