How's the Job Market? Measuring by Recruiting Inquiries

I was talking to a reporter last week about the hotness of the tech job market and companies having trouble hiring. My opinion was that there was a marked slowdown after the dot-com bubble collapsed (right about when I graduated) with things recovering by mid-decade and then slowing down again after the late 2000’s financial collapse, and picking up in 2010.

But I realized I don’t have go on opinion, I have data! I have been collecting recruiting inquiries for years, and since I use GMail, I never delete them; I just archive them. I have incomplete data going back to 2004, but from 2009 onwards I have full archives.

So I wrote a small Ruby program to process the mail from recruiters and make a graph of inquiries by quarter (I used quarters because I think this smooths out the data).

recruiting inquiry graph

You can clearly see from the graph the 2009 slowdown followed by a marked increase in 2010. Since Q2 2011 is only half over, I did not include data from it (as of today, I have had 10 inquires which is on track to about equal Q1 2011). So for me, 2010 was strong but 2011 has petered out somewhat, but is still quite a bit above 2009.

Now, some caveats: this is just one person getting unsolicited recruiter spam. Your results may vary (I encourage others who keep track of this to post their results). The numbers do not include LinkedIn spam (I mean, “InMail”) because I delete those, nor does it include consulting gig inquiries (I put those in a different folder).