The September Surge: Now is the best time to find a new job, according to TikTok

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If you’re on the hunt for a new job but the summer has seemed incredibly quiet, you’re not alone.

The so-called “September Surge” isn’t anything new in the recruitment sector. The term has been used in corporate America for years to describe the increase in job hunting and job vacancies posted between Labor Day (the first Monday in September) and Halloween (31 October).

But the phrase is now going global and entering the vocabulary of Gen Z thanks to TikTok, with the hashtag #septembersurge racking up over 6.6 million views.

“If you’ve been looking for a job and haven’t had any luck, pay attention because September surge is happening,” Chanelle Howell, a self-titled recruitment guru who has one of the most viewed videos on the topic, said. 

Howell thinks that the combination of executives heading back to work after the summer months and having more budget than anticipated toward the end of the year is what makes September “one of the busiest times” for hiring talent.

“Be ready,” she advised her followers. 

Meanwhile, one job-seeker who had stumbled on the vacancy term through TikTok even admitted to hitting pause on his hunt for new opportunities until the “surge” began. 

“I am postponing the job search until September because I just found out that there’s something called September surge when a lot of companies and industries start hiring heavily, because right now a lot of people are on vacation,” said user @texpatpat.

“Now I know that September through Halloween is the hiring season I feel much better,” he added, while lamenting that job searching has been taking a mental toll.   

But will those who are holding out on finding a job in the fall be bitterly disappointed, and is the September Surge actually real? The answer isn’t so clear cut, recruiters tell Fortune.

August is generally a quiet period

All the experts Fortune spoke to agreed that September generally is a good month to job hunt—in comparison to August, anyway.

Katherine Jackson, regional director at the British-based FTSE 250 recruitment firm Michael Page, says that every year the company witnesses a surge in job ads after the summer slump.

“With many taking their foot off the accelerator over summer to enjoy family or holiday time, September is ‘back to school’ season and that also means back to business,” she adds. “And, with the final quarter of the year fast approaching, businesses are more likely to have clarity on their remaining budget.”

New data from Gumtree—a website that can be scoured for everything from job listings to second-hand laptops—echoes that July and August are traditionally slower months in terms of the number of people replying to job listings. However, there’s a sharp uptick in the number of jobs advertised, interest from prospective employees and response time from September onwards.

“Over the summer months, the volume of job listings posted on Gumtree declines, along with the number of replies from prospective employees to the adverts,” Jill Cotton, career trends expert at Gumtree comments on the findings. “But come September, both employers and job hunters spring into action.”

But this can vary depending on the industry and role seniority you’re going for, as well as whether you’re already employed. 

“If you’re out of work right now, you might start seeing more job opportunities this month,” says Lewis Maleh, CEO of the global executive recruitment agency Bentley Lewis. “However, if you’re in work and looking to move, you might have to think carefully if you want to move now, as you might miss out on receiving your bonus or have to find a company willing to offer you a signing-on bonus.”

Plus, you might have more luck finding a job in September in some sectors than others. “Retail, for instance, often ramps up hiring well before the holiday season, so September might not be the ideal time in that sector,” he said, while adding that seasonally driven jobs will have different peak hiring months.

Meanwhile, if you’re in a leadership position chances are you’re in demand all year round.

“If a senior leader or key staff member resigns, a company will look to replace them no matter the time of year,” Maleh adds. “The dynamics at the senior level have much more to do with the volume of roles than time of year.”

Really, job hunting can be a year-round endeavor

Job-seekers who haven’t yet refreshed their resumes in time for the September Surge needn’t worry—although the job market does pick up after the holidays, it doesn’t wind down as the month ends either.

“October can be a perfect time to land a job that’ll see you start afresh in the New Year. The end of the financial year in April also brings plenty of opportunity,” Jackson says.

Meanwhile, Maleh thinks that January and February are good months to job hunt.  

“Companies are more likely to have a full view of open roles they need to fill,” he adds. “Companies will also have generally paid bonuses around then so you’ll see more resignations and therefore more vacancies.”



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