4 out of 5 European workforce don’t see LinkedIn as relevant or preferred

Geert-Jan Waasdorp on February 28, 2024 Average reading time: 4 min
Share this article:
4 out of 5 European workforce don’t see LinkedIn as relevant or preferred

The recruitment industry, especially the white-collar part of the industry, is strongly dependent on LinkedIn. There are not many recruiters to be found that are not active on LinkedIn or don’t have paid access for example with a LinkedIn Recruiter Seat. There are also not many TA leaders to be found who are a great fan or ambassadors of LinkedIn. Especially the bargaining with force at the end of a contract period, lack of service, rising prices, and cutting of functionalities don’t make LinkedIn a popular partner in the industry. Almost everybody accepts this, because of their dependency on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the heroine of the staffing industry and thousands of business owners getting millionaires by using LinkedIn.

In fact, LinkedIn can easily double their prices (or more), because there is no alternative. And even then, the staffing- and recruitment industry will make hundreds of billions (yes, with a b) of dollars by using LinkedIn. To look at it that way, … LinkedIn is still cheap.

The focus and dependency on LinkedIn, combined with an Anglo-Saxon perspective and great UX/UI – especially when you compare that to the average ATS system- makes recruiters blind to LinkedIn’s pitfalls. How can a recruiter judge if there are 5.600 software engineers in Berlin or 56.000 software engineers? You throw a number, show some profiles and a recruiter has enough talent to hunt for. The number is not the market, it’s just a number of LinkedIn ‘users and death profiles’ with relevance to the query that you asked LinkedIn. The marketing of that number gives you an idea that this is the market…..But it is not.

80% of Europeans don’t mention LinkedIn at all.

Intelligence Group asked 418.692 Europeans over a 2 year period in several questions to mention their favorite apps for looking for a new job, vacancy website for a new job, favorite website, favorite apps, and favorite social media. 1 out of 5 mentions at least one time on LinkedIn. With persons with a master’s degree, this is 34%, and with a bachelor 28%. With practical educated workers, this is only 13%. When a recruiter is using LinkedIn, it’s missing the biggest part of the labour market, especially when they are not looking for Bachelors and Masters. And the shortage in the European market is at this point much more on blue-collar and practical educated workers and LinkedIn’s footprint in that European market is poor.

There is not one LinkedIn European Labor Market

No doubt that you can’t recruit in Europe without using LinkedIn and Indeed. Both sites are still growing with their impact on the market. But because we only know one single truth (and that is what LinkedIn tells us), we overestimate their real power in Europe. This is also because of the lack of knowledge of local languages and local markets. Working from an Anglo-Saxon international and English-speaking perspective, you don’t see what you don’t know. As an international recruiter, you probably use English to search and have no knowledge of the number of plumbers or business controllers in Athens or Rome. The results and data are looking interesting, but you are missing out most of the talent. Only you don’t know what you don’t know and the trust in the LinkedIn platform is so high that no questions are asked.

Some European countries, like The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Ireland, the UK, and Spain have a higher penetration of LinkedIn, especially within the BaMa talent pool. The Netherlands is really a LinkedIn country, with 38% of the workforce and 56% of highly educated professionals favoring LinkedIn. But the closer to the middle and east of Europe you get, the emptier the LinkedIn talent pool gets. The decline starts in the DACH region and gets almost to zero in the Baltic states and the Balkan. So, the European LinkedIn hunting ground for professionals is in fact the Nordics, and the countries connected to the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and connected to the Mediterranean. But even in these countries you still miss at least two-thirds of the talent market.

Blue-collar workers, practical educated or low-skilled workers are almost not on LinkedIn

Besides the fact that it’s better to recruit in local languages, especially with practical educated workers, and that it’s hard for international recruiters to recruit in foreign languages, the impact of LinkedIn on the practical educated, blue-collar, and low-skilled workers is very low. In countries like Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia the presence is almost zero. Also, in countries with a high penetration of LinkedIn, like The Netherlands, Italy, and the UK, almost 80% of the practical educated talent is not using LinkedIn.

Nuance on LinkedIn’s European Recruitment Power

Without a doubt, LinkedIn together with Indeed, are the strongest European job boards and Talent pools. Because of the fragmented, segmented, and multilingual labour market in Europe, LinkedIn is a significant player over all the countries. But in a lot of local and national markets, their footprint is small.

Whether you like them or not, you can’t recruit international white-collar professionals in Europe without using LinkedIn.

But we also need to be realistic. LinkedIn covers only a small part of workers in Europe and has almost no relevance in the middle and eastern European countries. And has almost no relevance for recruiting practical workers. When you as a recruiter are in need of specific talent in European countries, even in the countries with low LinkedIn penetration, LinkedIn still can be a smart choice besides using the local champions (job boards and CV databases) in these countries. But to blindly trust LinkedIn, especially on market data, or be completely dependent on LinkedIn is not a smart strategy. LinkedIn still is just another job board and CV database. They want to make you believe something else, but can they show you the real data? I can tell you, they can’t. They only can show you their own data and that is, as you have seen in these graphs, just a part of the European Talent Pool pie.



If you liked this article and want more insights on attracting and retaining the best talent in Europe, subscribe to ToTalent’s weekly newsletter. You’ll get exclusive content, events, and expert insights.

Share this article:
Geert-Jan Waasdorp

Geert-Jan Waasdorp

Entrepreneur and Investor at Intelligence Group, Academie voor Arbeidsmarktcommunicatie, Werf&, Arbeidsmarktkansen, Recruitment Accelerator en Recruiteverywhere.com
Geert-Jan Waasdorp has been active in the world of job market communication and recruitment since 1999. He started his journey as an analyst, and grow into an entrepreneur, business owner, investor and innovator. Waasdorp is a guest speaker, blogger and author of several books on recruitment and employer branding.
Watch full profile

Premium partners View all partners

Intelligence Group
Recruitment Tech

Read the newsletter about total talent acquisition.