The Employment Opportunities List

The Ultimate Source for HR Jobs and Blogs. Friends Helping Friends of Friends.

What EO Says About the HR Job Market

I admit it. I’m a data geek.

I remember back in University being exposed to the wonders of SPSS. In those days, I was looking at a wide variety of viewer response data and running cross tabs based on different demographics, in order to understand the effectiveness of various advertising campaigns (no I did not start my career in HR). It was the 1980s and if you wanted something, you had to write code to make it happen, right up my alley. The training I received back then created a great groundwork for me to move to studying things of an HR nature, like employee engagement and other human resources activities that need response data to plan a course of action.

So it is with some satisfaction I report data I’ve gathered regarding The EO List.

Before I reveal anything, let me tell you that there is other data I’d love to have that we can’t obtain, yet. For example, exactly how many network members have found their job specifically through The EO List? We can’t calculate this because neither the job seekers or the employers who circulate definitively tell us when they’ve made their match through our connection. Also the successful job applicant could be a friend of a friend of a member of the network. Furthermore, a certain percentage of EO jobs are also posted elsewhere. We have to rely on reading the tea leaves, including testimonials and network growth to provide the evidence that our methods work.

Another challenge… We’ve always operated on a principle of minimum information, meaning that we don’t carry a lot of information about the people who join the network. The absence of this data means that we don’t know whether a member is currently an active job seeker, a networker or just likes to read our blog posts. We also don’t know if a member is looking for a junior or senior HR job. (Note, as we upgrade the site and look for ways to be more useful, we may start asking for more information). We have done surveys in the past, but only a portion of the membership responds and it is hard to know whether our data is statistically accurate.

Even with these limitations, we do have some data that can be used to help understand the value of the network.

First, here is the trend of network growth over a three plus-year period, starting in 2009 when we moved to our current e-mail distribution system. This data is based upon the recorded successful distribution figures within the system.

EO List Member Growth

There are some important points to be made regarding this chart.

  1. Our growth has occurred in regular, continual and remarkable pace. There have been no wild fluctuations, no spikes in membership size and no points of attrition. We must be doing something right. New people come, and people don’t leave!
  2. Our network size has nearly quadrupled in the three years. This shows that networking works. Our membership grew almost entirely by word-of-mouth.
  3. The regularity of growth suggests that it will continue to grow for many years to come. By how much, well, that’s the question, but I like the trend.

Second, here is the trend of the level of weekly job postings during the same period:

Weekly Posting Trend

There are some important points to be made regarding this chart.

  1. The size of the HR job market available to the network has increased over time, doubling on average from 2010 to now.
  2. The quantity of weekly postings fluctuates from week-to-week at a fairly predictable rate. The largest spikes in postings occur close to holiday periods when we don’t circulate every week.
  3. The quantity of weekly postings has dropped by about in 2012-13 from 2011-12. This may be in part because it has become more difficult to find “hidden” HR jobs. It may also be an overall decline in the volume of HR positions.

The more interesting analysis however comes when you look at these two charts together and start to ask questions about what they mean. In particular,

  1. Currently, are there exponentially more job seekers than available jobs in comparison to a few years ago? If yes, how might we use this data to prove that?
  2. How has network growth impacted our overall reach? Previous studies have suggested that the reach is at least three times that of the network, due to the level of forwarding and networking encouraged in our method. How might we determine the real size?
  3. Can we suggest that there is a direct relationship between the network growth itself and the size of the circulation, e.g. do people who are in the network share what they learn in terms of opportunities causing the long-term upward trend in the quantity of jobs? If yes, how do we prove that?
  4. Given our size now, has our method impacted the search field in HR in any way? Do more firms do their own search? Do search firms find this a more effective way to find candidates?

The more we know, the more innovative we can be, the more we help ourselves and those around us. What are you thoughts on this review of data? What can we explore next? Do next?


  1. Great piece. The shifts are interesting. I wonder if perhaps they reflect a move by some companies to send HR work off-shore? Or to move to off-the-shelf HR solutions that require less of a human dimension and focus more on simply administering? Certainly in tight economic times companies are looking for ways to improve their bottom line and some may be off-loading HR and simply buying advice if, as and when needed instead of paying for salaried HR professionals.

    This might explain an increase in EO members, while available jobs appear to be decreasing.

  2. Overall, I find this analysis very interesting. Thank you for doing this. I need to think about your questions posed in the last section.
    My initial comment, however, is that there seems to be a figure missing in point #3 of the section referring to the weekly job postings.

  3. Hi Bonni:

    An interesting look at the data – is there any way to analyze which types of positions are showing the most growth and also where they are located geographically?


  4. Hi Bonnie,

    At the outset i extend my sincere thanks and appreciation for sharing this interesting data, the trend chart on network growth (consistent) in EO list shows the continued participation. My suggestion could be to plan and share the survey data periodically adding few more parameters to analyse active job seekers (Junior / Middle / Senior) ,IEP’s, successful candidates,HR positions focusing on type of industry.


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