British job seekers are facing a frustrating reality: more than half of the jobs they apply for remain unanswered.

According to new research conducted by Indeed, a global matching and hiring platform, a staggering 55 percent of job applications go unanswered, leaving applicants in limbo.

Despite the Office for National Statistics reporting 916,000 job vacancies in the UK, the hiring process seems to be anything but efficient.

The survey, which canvassed the opinions of 1,000 working individuals and 1,000 hiring professionals in the UK, sheds light on the inefficiencies plaguing both job seekers and businesses, resulting in prolonged vacancies and mismatched roles.

A blow to morale

The absence of a response from potential employers takes a toll on job seeker confidence. An overwhelming 86 percent of respondents expressed a preference for receiving a clear rejection over silence, indicating that the lack of communication significantly impacts their job search morale. In fact, 41 percent admitted that not hearing back from employers greatly affects their confidence, while 52 percent questioned whether they should even continue their job search when met with silence.

The mental toll of waiting for a response is not to be underestimated, with 74 percent of workers agreeing that receiving any form of response, even a rejection, would alleviate the stress and wasted mental energy associated with waiting in uncertainty.

The challenges of the job hunt extend beyond the silence from employers. A staggering 79 percent of respondents find it arduous to identify suitable roles to apply for, while 63 percent lament the inefficiency and sluggishness of the hiring process in the UK. As a result, over half (51%) of Brits have abandoned hope of finding a suitable job due to the process being too daunting, demoralising, or time-consuming.

The emotional toll

The emotional toll on job seekers is evident, with frustration (45%), demoralisation (27%), and burnout (25%) being the predominant feelings associated with the job hunt. Only a mere 9 percent reported feeling empowered in their search for new opportunities.

Also, nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents revealed that their last job search lasted six months or longer, leading many to lower their standards over time. This compromise in standards is reflected in the statistics, with 27 percent of job seekers caring less about the roles they apply for and 23 percent admitting to applying for positions they knew they weren’t suited for. Additionally, 63 percent of respondents applied for multiple jobs simultaneously due to the expectation of not hearing back from employers.

However, it is not just job seekers feeling the frustration. Hiring professionals echo similar sentiments, with 61 percent stating that they have wasted time due to inefficient or lengthy hiring processes. A significant factor contributing to this inefficiency is the discovery that almost a third (32%) of candidates are unsuitable for roles due to avoidable reasons such as location, qualifications, or a lack of interest in new opportunities.

What can help?

In response to these challenges, Indeed has launched several AI-powered products and features aimed at streamlining the hiring process for both employers and job seekers. Among these innovations is Smart Sourcing, an AI-powered tool designed to source an active talent pool of nearly 300 million workers based on profiles and resumes shared on Indeed. By leveraging AI, employers can swiftly identify and connect with the best-suited candidates for a role, ultimately expediting the hiring process.

Indeed’s commitment to simplifying the hiring process is further demonstrated through the introduction of the Indeed Connect for Employers app, now available in the UK for iOS and Android users. This mobile app empowers employers to manage job messages, interact with candidates, and source talent seamlessly, even on the go.

Also, updates to the Indeed Profile feature enable job seekers to showcase their skills and preferences effectively, increasing their chances of being contacted by relevant employers. With over 40,000 different skills available to showcase on the profile, job seekers can receive personalised job recommendations tailored to their expertise and preferences.

The transformative potential of AI

Speaking at the ‘FutureWorks’ event in London, Danny Stacy, Head of Talent Intelligence, UK at Indeed, emphasised the transformative potential of AI-powered technology in revolutionising the hiring process. He highlighted the importance of addressing inefficiencies in job matching and hiring, expressing optimism that Indeed’s latest innovations will not only enhance efficiencies but also improve the overall experience for both employers and job seekers.

As the number one job site in the world, Indeed remains committed to driving meaningful change and facilitating quality matches between employers and job seekers, ultimately transforming the hiring landscape for the better.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.