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More job postings are specifying “no experience necessary,” a sign that the tight labor market is pushing employers to broaden their hunt for help.

Burning Glass Technologies’ data shows the number of U.S. job postings explicitly open to workers without previous experience increased more than 4% between 2012 and 2017.

The unemployment rate has been at 4.1% for five months, the result of the long, slow recovery from the Great Recession. Federal statistics report the ratio of unemployed people to vacancies is at an all-time low.

When employers have trouble finding workers, one strategy is to lower requirements, which includes being more open to workers without experience. Obviously, this strategy can’t work with every occupation. Lowering standards for medical professionals or airline pilots, for example, may not even be legal, much less desirable. And you can’t put an entry-level worker in a senior-level position.

But in many entry-level occupations, employers can lower or drop experience requirements. Some 26% of the 28.9 million postings we examined in 2017 were specifically open to those without experience, compared to 21.9% in 2012.

Not every job posting is specific about experience requirements, and the decision on whether or not to hire a less-experienced candidate is still made by hiring managers. But the fact that more postings are explicit about being open to less-experienced workers is a clear sign that more employers are reconsidering requirements.

The kinds of jobs where this trend can be seen is also illustrative. Some of these positions are clearly those that have always been open to entry-level workers: Laborers and Warehouse Workers for example, or Recruiters.

Some of the other positions we’ve identified, however, are ones where experience would be useful. Medical Secretaries and Medical Transcriptionists would certainly benefit from prior experience in the health care system, but postings open to those without experience jumped 5.4% and a whopping 17.3%, respectively. (Health informatics is a rapidly growing field, and previous Burning Glass research has shown a shortage of workers).

Other shifts have occurred in fast-growing roles like Data Scientists and E-Commerce Analysts. Some of these positions are also those that have specific training and skill requirements, such as CAD Designer/Drafters and Automotive Service Technicians.

This is in line with other research that shows employers are dropping requirements for criminal background checks or willing to hire the long-term unemployed. This also suggests, however, that employers need to consider how they acquire talent, and whether they need more sophisticated techniques to build and maintain their talent pipeline.

Postings That Don't Require Prior Experience, Selected Roles, 2012-17

  Percentage of postings open without prior experience
OccupationTotal Postings, 2017 201220132014201520162017
All Occupations28,935,72721.90%21.20%22.20%23.60%25.10%26.00%
Laborer / Warehouse Worker323,27418.60%18.30%18.70%24.40%23.00%24.50%
Automotive Service Technician / Mechanic130,64019.40%18.90%21.80%25.10%29.40%28.40%
Recruiter119,41425.90%23.90%26.80%28.50%36.20%38.30%
Medical Secretary86,60736.30%34.00%38.10%38.10%42.20%41.70%
Preschool / Childcare Teacher70,08730.40%27.70%30.00%35.00%35.10%36.20%
Supply Chain / Logistics Manager36,3489.50%9.50%11.60%12.80%14.80%20.50%
Medical Transcriptionist23,29338.10%33.10%37.70%42.50%55.40%61.00%
Data Scientist20,19410.30%9.20%10.90%12.10%15.00%14.40%
E - Commerce Analyst16,74914.90%13.40%13.90%11.70%16.60%22.60%
Auto Body Technician16,16519.00%18.10%21.50%28.40%27.90%31.30%
Purchasing Assistant15,47625.00%23.90%26.10%28.20%31.10%31.80%
CAD Designer / Drafter14,80722.70%22.00%24.40%24.20%24.70%25.20%

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