California Job Seekers Willing to Switch Industries to Gain Employment, Accenture Statewide Survey Finds

SAN FRANCISCO; Nov. 18, 2010 – While the State of California continues to look at how to reduce its unemployment rate, a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) revealed that 91 percent of California residents said they would apply for a job outside of their skill set if they knew that the prospective employer would train them. The survey was conducted to better understand the attitudes and opinions of job seekers residing in the State of California toward their employment status, job search processes and skill sets.

“We find that many companies prefer to hire from the pool of employed persons, which can further contribute to the slow decline in unemployment,” said Chris DiGiorgio, Northern California Managing Director for Accenture. “We encourage our clients to think about the 12.4 percent of unemployed Californians as a valuable source of talent and consider opportunities to re-train some of these workers to fill the skills gap many face.”

The survey of more than 300 job seekers confirmed that finding a job in California takes 9-12 months on average. In addition, two out of five Californians surveyed (42 percent) said they left their last job by their own choice to pursue other opportunities while the same percentage (42 percent) report being laid off.

“The vast majority (89 percent) of California residents said, however, that they are only looking for jobs within the state of California, which is encouraging as the economy rebounds,” said DiGiorgio.

Among Californians who are currently job hunting, the two most popular industries that those surveyed would like to be working in are “education, health and other services” (23 percent) and “professional and business services” (20 percent). The two least popular industries Californians would like to be working in are “manufacturing” (three percent) and “agriculture and mining” (two percent). Only 10 percent surveyed said they were looking for positions in information-based industries.

The study also found Golden State job seekers are unsure about what employers are looking for in candidate. While 80 percent of Californians surveyed say they are applying for jobs they think are within their skill set, nearly 39 percent of Californians surveyed admitted they don’t know what skills employers are looking for in the current job market. In addition, 53 percent say they never received any feedback from the employer for the most recent job they applied for, and 35 percent of employers gave no reason for not giving them the job.

Of the skills the unemployed think employers are looking for “adaptable/flexible” (72 percent) and “ability to multi-task” (69 percent) ranked highest, and “proficiency in math” (31 percent) and “financial” (24 percent) ranked lowest.

“Employers need to understand that hiring is no longer about matching job descriptions, it’s about matching skills,” said David Smith, Managing Director for Accenture’s Talent & Organization Performance practice and author of Workforce Of One: Revolutionizing Talent Management Through Customization. “In today’s economy, in order for employers to be competitive and keep the best talent, they need to get more creative about hiring and retraining.”


The survey, conducted by Accenture, was based on a 20-question, 10-minute online questionnaire of 306 California residents ages 18-55 years old. The respondents were equally divided into three categories: unemployed job seekers who have previously held a full-time position outside the home and are actively looking for a full-time position outside the home; first-time job seekers ages 18-30 years old who never had a job before and are actively seeking a full-time position outside the home; and employed workers who started a new job in the last 24 months after being unemployed for four months or longer. The majority of participants had educational backgrounds of some college or a bachelor’s degree, and were looking for jobs in a range of industries including education, healthcare, business services, leisure and hospitality, and financial services. The survey was conducted in October 2010.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 204,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. Through its Skills to Succeed corporate citizenship focus, Accenture is committed to equipping 250,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The company generated net revenues of US$21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. Its home page is



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