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“Ghost Jobs”: The New Trend Hurting Workers

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Applying to job after job, forwarding resumes, responding to questions, a dreary process too many of us are familiar with. If we are lucky, we will get a few responses, maybe an email saying the position was filled by someone else, but more often than not, there is no response. Now, people are finding deafening silence from more and more job listings on the market, where they never hear back. 

Companies are frequently keeping job listings open with no intention of actually filling the position while taking applications. These have been coined “Ghost job listings.” The employer either never replies to applicants or might take a few interviews before ghosting completely. With a tight labor market, and the US Department of Labor claiming that there are over 10 million job openings, why is this happening?

We are in an era of economic uncertainty, with economists forecasting that we are on the brink of a recession. Companies can project security to banks and shareholders by posting job listings, giving the false impression that the company is doing better than it is in reality. A lot of economic data is driven by job listings, and companies don’t want to appear like they are struggling, especially with the increase in filed bankruptcies and corporate defaults rising

Employers are also desperate to keep the “tap” open, in case someone leaves, and they need to fill a position quickly. The same poll found that 43% of hiring managers also consciously keep job postings open for this reason. One in five hiring managers have no intention of filling the posted position.

Ghost job listings are making it difficult to get a job, forcing workers to apply over and over again to new employers. Inflation-burdened workers are worried and anxious, with one survey finding that 96% of employees are looking for new jobs. Even with low unemployment, layoffs in industries like tech have left people scrambling to find new jobs. Ghost job listings have made the job hunt even more complicated, with some people even getting through multiple interviews before being ghosted by the employer. Workers are desperately chasing after job openings that don’t exist. 

Even under the guise of a “pro-worker” labor market, with low unemployment and lots of job openings, workers are still getting screwed over. More workers than ever before work two full-time jobs with many struggling to afford groceries and gas, on top of extortionary housing costs. The pandemic brought into perspective just how many working people are fed up with the short end of the stick, low-paying jobs with poor benefits, bad hours, and more. 

Ghost job listings are yet another way in which the bosses manipulate the system to their advantage, sending workers on a wild goose chase after jobs they have no intention of filling. Under capitalism, workers are always at a disadvantage relative to the bosses, even when the market conditions are “favorable.” Only a socialist world can provide permanent and meaningful stability for workers where we have democratic control over industries and the economy. 

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