What is the Average Time to Hire by Industry? 

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The measurement of “time to hire,” which varies by industry, organization, and location, registers the time between the moment a candidate is first engaged for an open position to the moment they accept an offer. Time to hire is often conflated with “time to fill,” the length of time a vacancy sits open, and can be complicated by any number of factors—some companies are just slower than others, and some entire industries need to hire more deliberately than others. A good understanding of the average time to hire for each industry can give you a better sense of where your company stands in the rankings and what mindset candidates are in during the interview process.

Factors Of Average Time To Hire

Industries that have more regulatory requirements, like background checks, will have a longer process built-in—and therefore a longer average time to hire. A study conducted last year by Glassdoor, which looked at time to hire by location and industry based on reviews on their site, determined that the longest hiring processes were found in Washington, D.C.—where there is a very high concentration of federal government jobs. Federal background checks add to the length of many of these hiring processes.

If you look purely by industry, the same study finds a correspondence between higher average time to hire and jobs that require more specialized and lengthier training. Particular job titles with lengthy processes include college professor, which was the slowest hiring process with an average at 60.3 days, followed by business systems analyst, at 44.8 days, and research scientist at 44.6 days

More generally, the top four industries with the slowest interview processes include government, aerospace and defense, energy & utilities, and biotech & pharmaceuticals, ranging from 28.1 to 53.8 days. Again, the background checks involved with government and aerospace jobs put them at the top of the list.

The Relationship Between Turnover and Average Time to Hire

A separate study from DHI Group, Inc, which uses turnover statistics from the Bureau of Labor to generate the metric of “vacancy days,” finds that health services tops the average time to hire list at 49 days. Next are the financial services at 44.7 days, government with 40.9 days, and jobs in information at 33 days. But this study may tell you less about the actual interview process and more about the turnover statistics within particular industries.

The aforementioned Glassdoor study also reveals that a lower average time to hire comes with less specialized training and industries where quick turnover is necessary. The jobs that constitute the nuts and bolts of a business, and cover day-to-day practical needs in service industries, have quicker interview processes. A position such as a waiter, for example, averages at 8 days, while a salesperson or delivery driver averages at 8.5 days.

Breaking Down Average Time To Hire Data

The quickest job interview processes by industry are as follows:

IndustryAverage Time To Hire
1. Restaurant & Bars10.2 days
2. Private Security11.6 days
3. Supermarkets12.3 days
4. Automotive12.7 days
5. Beauty & Fitness13.2 days

The slowest job interview processes by industry are as follows:

IndustryAverage Time To Hire
1. Government53.8 days
2. Aerospace & Defense32.6 days
3. Energy & Utilities28.8 days
4. Biotech & Pharmaceuticals28.1 days
5. Nonprofit25.2 days
6. Media & Publishing25.2 days

But the study also finds significant variance even within certain industries. For example, a communications specialist has a high average time to hire at 42.5 days, while a marketing representative averages just 12.5 days—yet both these positions might fall under the general header of marketing & advertising, which averages 14.9 days.

Take the numbers with a grain of salt. But in general, the timeline reveals that candidates might have a sense that they’ll be waiting a week and a half after applying for jobs in the service industry, compared to up to nearly two months for a government job. These are statistics you can also mention to candidates during the hiring cycle so they can adjust their expectations.

Learn more about how PandoLogic’s recruitment software can assist your hiring process

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