Buyer’s market sparks increase in ‘professional ghosting’

More than one in ten office workers have admitted to ‘professional ghosting’ when applying for a job over the last 12 months.

•    14% of office workers admitted to ‘professional ghosting’ when applying for a job
•    This trend sees prospective employees avoid communication with a company during the recruitment process
•    As a result, employers are being forced to reconsider talent attraction strategies, including flexible working and company culture 

London, 19 December 2019 – More than one in ten office workers have admitted to ‘professional ghosting’ when applying for a job over the last 12 months, according to new research from recruitment specialist Robert Half UK1

Nearly one in six (14%) office workers admitted to the practice when going through the recruitment process, with the average worker ghosting prospective employers twice a year.

‘Professional ghosting’ refers to a potential employee avoiding communication with a company during the application process. It is more common among younger workers, with a quarter (25%) of under 35-year-olds admitting to the practice, compared to just 5% of workers aged over 45.

Reasons for rejecting job offers

‘Professional ghosting’ is symptomatic of the current buyer’s market with employment levels reaching record highs in 20192. As a result, job seekers are often juggling multiple offers, putting the onus on employers to review their talent attraction strategies outside of remuneration alone.

One third (31%) of employees said they would decline a job offer that did not include flexible working hours, with the average employee prepared to take a 3% pay cut in return for the option to work outside normal office hours.

Meanwhile, 14% of workers would reject a job offer if a bonus was not included as part of the proposal, while 12% would do the same if they were not able to work from home at least once a week.

Flexible working hours 31%
Bonus 14%
Ability to work from home at least once a week 12%
Above average employer contribution to pension 11%
Employee wellbeing packages 8%
Above average maternity / paternity packages 5%
Unlimited annual leave 4%
Share options 4%
Gym membership 3%
Leisure/games facilities in the office 2%
None of the above 52%

Table 1: Total who would consider rejecting job offer if benefits/perks were not offered (respondents allowed to selected multiple answers)

A third of workers (32%) would take a pay cut if a company offered them other benefits, such as a gym membership.

Separate to employee benefits, company culture is also important to prospective employees, particularly the younger generation. Two in five (38%) workers said that company culture is more important than salary, rising to 43% for under 35-year-olds compared to 29% of workers aged over 45.

Matt Weston, Managing Director at Robert Half UK, commented: “We are currently in a buyer’s market and business leaders are having to review their employee attraction strategies in order to secure the best talent. Where the recruitment process was once entirely driven by the employer’s timetable, the war for talent is seeing a powershift towards in-demand talent which is feeding the growing trends of professional ghosting.

“As our 2020 Salary Guide has highlighted, skilled professionals today are looking for a comprehensive remuneration package, including benefits alongside a competitive salary. Flexible working is increasingly popular with many candidates refusing to accept a job offer which does not include this in some form. Aside from employee benefits, employers looking to attract and retain top talent should prioritise developing a clear employer brand. In-demand professionals increasingly want to work for companies with a strong identity and a well-defined culture and ethos, making it another key factor in improved employee retention.”

– ENDS –


Notes to editors
1The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in June 2019 by Censuswide among 2,000 full and part-time workers.

About Robert Half
Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, marketing and business support professionals. For more than 20 years, Robert Half has been named to FORTUNE® magazine’s list of “Most Admired Companies” and offers workplace and job seeker resources at: and

For more information 
Roxan Mathys
Robert Half UK
0207 562 6542 
[email protected]


Lewis Hill or Andrea Borbely
Instinctif Partners 
020 7457 2020
[email protected]