My friends over at Software Advice recently conducted a survey on the importance/impact of Glassdoor as a job-seeking resource. I must admit, I was somewhat surprised to see the participation numbers. Based purely on an occasional glimpse (i.e., pure bias) I’ve always considered Glassdoor to be either a venting outlet for the disgruntled or a cheerleading pitch from internal recruiting departments.

Still don’t know that I’m wrong, but….

When surveying 4,633 random respondents, Software Advice (via Erin Osterhaus) found 48% of those surveyed utilized Glassdoor at some point in their job search, and of those, almost 50% checked it out before seeking a position with the company. That would seem to indicate a savvy job seeking public.

At first blush, that seems really encouraging – if Glassdoor is, as it desires to be, a transparent view into a company’s soul, the 48% would indicate that the “soul” is important when seeking employment, right?


Glassdoor reviewers are asked to rate a company in five areas; Culture & Values, Work/Life Balance, Senior Management, Comp & Benefits, and Career Opportunities. What’s top rated by job-seekers? That would be Compensation & Benefits, of course. So job-seekers like the idea a company with a compatible culture and visionary leadership, but when push comes to shove – show me the shekles. Senior Leadership actually finished last in these ratings – does that surprise you even a little?

Re-emphasizing the importance of the dollar, my fellow capitalists also rated Comp & Benefits as the most critical aspect of choosing not to apply to a company. Rated least important was “Career Opportunities.” What?

One other finding that may help explain this – surprisingly, the age group most active on Glassdoor (over HALF) are those over the age of 45.

So without the restraints of editorial review, allow me to make a few assumptions based solely on these two ratings.

  • There comes a time in one’s life (let’s say, for example, 45?) when you worry less about the culture of the company, and more about their IRA and 401K.
  • If the money is right, the career ladder really isn’t that critical anymore.
  • If you are targeting employees that fall in this demographic, you want to feature compensation & benefits as a key differentiator. Branding is still an important piece of attraction, but make sure you include a dollar sign.
  • Our view of Senior leadership is jaded. Rated last in importance (another question confirmed that even negative reviews of the CEO had a minimal, if any, impact on job-seekers decision to apply,) job seekers are more accustomed to the top dogs being less than ideal. Are we saying we don’t care? Are we jaded about our expectations for Sr. Leaders? Are we willing to make the trade, poor leadership < good pay?

So as a 45-ish aged person let me share some more personal interpretations of this data. We (Gen-X’ers) had it pretty sweet for a while ~ budgets were open-ended, checks were fat, benefits were plentiful, and beer flowed like wine. Then, around 2001, it all changed…

In the time since, we’ve learned to be more suspicious of the powers-that-be. We learned that loyalty is something that goes unreciprocated by our employer. We came to realize that “job-hopping” was no longer frowned-up; instead, it became a necessary skill for professional survival. Now, in the stretch run of our professional lives, we want financial security – there are no guarantees in consistent leadership or long-term employment, so many job-seekers are betting on the short-term gain.

Is that a stretch?