Stats and Graphs: Why are you job searching?

The 2023 Job Hunter’s Survey collects information from LIS workers who are currently looking for work, crossing multiple experience levels, specializations, and library types. There are 37 questions, including a special section that asks for information about the length of time taken to find the first post-grad school position (which for some respondents was quite a few years ago). The survey opened on February 2nd, 2023. It will remain open indefinitely, but as of February 23rd, there are 412 responses. Most chose to fill it out anonymously, but 30 people did leave contact information. I am posting both individual responses and statistics, as I can get them written up. Given the number of responses, it will most likely take more than a year for me to share them all. 

This is the second 2023 Job Hunter’s Survey statistics post! Please note I don’t use representative sampling, so it would be inappropriate to draw conclusions about the larger population of LIS Workers as a whole.

Question two asks, “Why are you job hunting? (check all that apply)”

I provided 19 possible options, plus the choice of “Other.” All options were chosen more than once, with the most popular being “Looking for more money” (chosen by 181 out of 412 respondents) and the least popular being “Because I’m worried about a possible recession” (only 17 out of 412 respondents).

37% of respondents (the second largest group) chose “This is the next step after finishing library/archives/other LIS graduate degree,” indicating that while a significant portion of respondents were new LIS grads, the majority were not. This is supported by the answers to a question we’ll look deeper at in the next Stats and Graphs post: “If you have an MLIS or other graduate level degree in a LIS field, what year did you graduate? (Or what year do you anticipate graduating?)” Only about 30% of respondents (126 out of 412) had a graduation date of 2022 or later.

I was surprised that only 96 respondents (about 23%) were looking for remote/virtual work. It has felt like this is something everyone is seeking right now! I do not have a sense of the percent of open jobs that offer remote/virtual work. I imagine it is less than 23% of the total, but I am not at all certain.

I was also interested to note that only 56 respondents (about 13.6%) were unemployed. I have a picture in my head of the LIS job seeker filling her days with applications, but in reality many people are searching for work while trying to fulfill the duties of an existing job – which may be boring, toxic, or otherwise additionally stressful.

Bar Chart illustrating responses to "Why are you looking for work?"  Text of chart follows image
ReasonNumber who chosePercent who chose
Looking for more money18143.93%
This is the next step after finishing library/archives/other LIS graduate degree15437.38%
Looking for a promotion/more responsibility12029.13%
I want to work at a different type of library/institution10625.73%
I’m underemployed (not enough hours or overqualified for current position)10625.73%
My current job is awful/toxic10024.27%
Looking for remote/virtual work (or at least hybrid)9623.30%
My current job provides insufficient or no benefits (Healthcare or beyond)6816.50%
Because I reassessed my priorities after COVID6716.26%
My current job is temporary6616.02%
My current job is boring6515.78%
I’m employed outside of the field and I’d like to be in it6415.53%
I’m unemployed5613.59%
I want to work with a different type of collection5413.11%
I want to work with a different population4711.41%
I need more flexibility in my schedule (to care for dependents or otherwise)338.01%
I’ve been threatened at my job or had to deal with hostility/danger/scary behavior from the public or coworkers297.04%
I’m worried I will be laid off/let go/fired from my current position245.83%
Because I’m worried about a possible recession174.13%

“Other” Reasons

49 people provided their own reasoning under “other” (always in addition to choosing at least one of my options).

While many of these write-in responses were unique, 16 people (3.8%) said they were job searching because they wanted to relocate. Some of those mentioned specific reasons, such as to be near family, climate change, and the political environment. For example, “I’m looking to live in a different area of the country, because politics in my current state make me feel unsafe.”

I see the following additional possibilities for grouping responses: 3 people mentioned their organization’s budget, 3 people were searching because of their current organization’s leadership, 2 people wanted to leave the profession, and 2 wanted to return after being full time caregivers (so, no net change between those last two reasons…).

The full list of “Other” responses is:

Because the administration at my current job is awful/toxic (rather than the job itself)
I want to work somewhere that administration actually cares about serving students and the wellbeing of employees instead of feathering their caps on our backbreaking labor so they can get promoted.
I would like to change job responsibilities (not monitor social media platforms). Do not trust leadership. Am unsure my values align with the values of the organization.
Budget issues in my place of employment
current job NEVER gives raises even COLA is rare and we’re facing big budget cuts which will significantly change the nature of my work in ways I do not want
My entire library team is being laid off
I live in Florida.
I’m looking to live in a different area of the country because politics in my current state make me feel unsafe.
My current location is increasingly environmentally uninhabitable
My job is currently under attack by state government with a particular vendetta against my demographic
I relocated to a new state due to my husband’s job
I want to relocate to be closer to my family
My family is relocating to a different region
Need to be closer to family
Planning to relocate to a different part of the country for family/personal reasons
Looking to move closer to family; looking to get out of Florida because politically it is a hellscape
I want to leave libraries
Looking to possibly get out of librarianship
I’d like to relocate but it’s not urgent and I’m content in my current work so I’m in a position to be selective.
I’m actually near the end of my career (within 5 years I hope). I’m just tired of my long commute. Remote or hybrid work is fine but really I just want to be closer to home. My workplace is about 60 miles from home one way. I’ve been commuting back and forth for 17 years! Should have moved long ago!
I’m looking to relocate
Looking to work internationally; few visa-sponsoring opportunities exist
wanting to relocate
Would like to move.
Returning to work after raising my family
trying to re-enter the workforce after being a SAHM/caregiver for for 15 years
4 years ( had temp post for 3 years but looked for permanent)
Because I reassessed my priorities after a health and age landmark.
Because I want to work in this field
i have had my whole career in one library system and want to explore more
I have many interests (e.g. archives, special collections, special libraries, etc.)
I just like to see what’s out there but I’m not really looking-looking
I like change and like to see what all is out there. Maybe I’ll find something I love
I want to gain library experience
I’m unemployed and about to begin yet another temp/pt job. so thats why above answers chosen
I’ve never been employed full-time
looking for new challenges
Looking for solely remote work
Lost my permanent position due to pandemic
Next step after finishing a LIT diploma
Poor mental and physical health as a direct result of my work
Retired and looking for PT work
taking care of my own mental health
The current work I do is unfulfilling. I want to make a difference. I don’t want to manage people or projects.
want to leave technical services
while the cause of the toxicity has left my institution; the harm they cause in the 3 years they were in charge will take at least 5 years to correct; and that’s truly a very long time to wait for things to be better…

What are your thoughts on these results? Do you have a reason to look for work that is not mentioned above?


1 Comment

Filed under 2023 Job Hunter Stats, Stats and Graphs

One response to “Stats and Graphs: Why are you job searching?

  1. My thoughts on these results: enlightening, interesting, and wow.


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