Ghosting from dating apps is leaking into the jobs market with new hires not showing up on their first day


It is not uncommon to spend days on a job application—crafting the perfect cover letter, sprucing up the CV, and filling in a questionnaire—all to submit and hear absolutely nothing back.

But in a twist of fate, employers may now be getting a taste of their own medicine.

Manufacturers, restaurants, airlines, and cleaning companies are all seeing a surge of job seekers who accept positions to then never be heard from again.

Southwest Airlines said around 15% to 20% of new hires for some jobs don’t turn up on their first day, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal.

Allied Universal, a security and facility-services provider, said roughly 15% of new hires disappeared before starting a job.

London-based recruitment firm Michael Page calls this kind of ghosting a growing trend.

“We’re in an incredibly candidate-hot market, which means that there are more live jobs coming to market than there are people to fill them,” Rachel Campbell, Managing Director at Page Personnel tells Fortune.

“Candidates have so much choice and could potentially be in multiple processes at once, meaning they might wait until the very last moment to pick between offers—sometimes forced to choose between two or three competitive packages.”

She adds that another contributor to this trend is that “employers are waking up to the fact that they can’t risk losing their top talent,” meaning significant counteroffers are made to star employees who want to leave.

These instances usually happen in the 11th hour and can result in candidates quickly pulling out of new roles, leading to no-shows on the first day of the new job.

No show

The job market is at a historic high right now.

This past April, the U.S. Labour Department U.S. recorded a record 3.6% unemployment rate.

Set against the unlikely backdrop of galloping inflation and rising borrowing costs, the Labor Department found that only 1.38 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment benefits—the fewest since 1970.

There is also a record high of 11.5 million job openings in March, with layoffs well below pre-pandemic levels. This translates to two available jobs for every unemployed person—the highest proportion on record.

This has led to an unprecedented level of leverage for the worker.

“We have a generation of professionals who grew up on dating apps, where ghosting has been accepted as an annoying, but common, phenomenon,” Keith Wolf, managing director recruiting firm Murray Resources, told the WSJ.

“I believe that is leaking into the professional world.”