Talent Acquisition Fast Facts – Time-to-Fill, Highest Since 2001?

According to hiring managers and C-level executivestime-to-fill is the third most important hiring metric—just behind quality of hire and, fittingly, hiring manager satisfaction.

Time-to-fill reflects the time it takes between the moment a requisition/job is posted to the acceptance of a job offer from a candidate. Although the continuing shift toward quality over quantity has kept time-to-hire from to the top of the list of important measures, efficiency is and will always be imperative to the bottom-line success of an organization and its recruitment.

With tools such as career portals, mobile job applications, social media, applicant tracking systems, job boards and more data and analytics at our fingertips than ever before (may be cliché, but it’s certainly true), it would make sense to assume that time-to-fill rates are steadily improving year over year—and certainly over the past 10-15 years, right?

The research might surprise you. Without further ado, Talent Acquisition Fast Facts:


According to the DICE-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure (shared in this ERE article), time-to-fill has reached a U.S. national average of 25 working days (Monday-Saturday)—the lengthiest it has been since 2001

  • This number is more than 9 days longer than the average time-to-fill rate in the midst of the economic recession in July 2009, which was 15.3 days.

Further, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more job openings in the U.S. in June 2014 than at any time since 2001.

Despite there being more jobs available today than there were at any time since 2001, and with the tools and resources at our disposal in 2014, how is it possible time-to-fill has actually worsened? Is it perhaps because companies are focusing less on rapid fills and more on talent quality?

Also according to the DICE-DFH report, noteworthy time-to-fill averages over the past 13 years:

  • January 2001: 23.3 days

  • July 2009 (height of economic recession): 15.3 days

  • June 2014: 25 days

According to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal, a third of all small businesses in the U.S. are leaving jobs unfilled because they simply can’t find talent with the skills they need.

With greater clarity into talent quality, perhaps organizations are simply more picky and calculated with their hiring decisions? With 80% of employee turnover the result of “bad hiring decisions” and the financial impact of poor hiring decisions being upwards of 30% of an employee’s salary, one can see why. Still, why are so many still challenged to find the best talent?

Looking at time-to-fill rates by industry, some sectors have averages far above not only the national average but other industries as well. Average U.S. time-to-fill rates by industry as of June 2014:

  • Technology: 38.9 days

  • Financial Services: 37 days

  • Government: 36.7 days

  • Healthcare: 36.4 days

  • Advanced Manufacturing: 29.2 days

  • Professional and Business Services: 20.7 days

  • Wholesale and Retail Trade: 18.4 days

Of note, the Technology industry currently has the longest time-to-fill of any sector.Advanced Manufacturing’s time-to-fill is twice as long as it was in 2009 (14.6 days). 

Companies with 5,000 employees or more have the longest delay in time-to-fill: 58.1 working days (9+ weeks).

Do any of these numbers surprise you—maybe the 58.1 working days for companies with 5,000+ employees? Does lengthening time-to-fill have more to do with companies’ struggle to find the right talent, competitive pressures, lack of internal capabilities or a combination of all three? Or, perhaps it has to do with the rising amount of voluntary turnover, job rejections and today’s elite employees having more power

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Cielo Twitter and Facebook pages!

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Susanna 3/16/2017 4:04:49 PM

3/16/2017 4:04:53 PM

Time to fill is high because many small businesses are leaving positions unfilled because the skill set isn't prevalent. Bad hiring decisions certainly factor into this equation, and as this article points out, account for up to 80% of employee turnover. Additionally, larger companies (5000+ employees) have the highest time to fill, averaging nearly 60 days. Read the following article for more on Time To Fill: https://www.icims.com/hiring-insights/for-employers/ebook-your-time-to-fill-fact-book