A stressed out man
A stressed out man

Promised today, pulled tomorrow: Insights into the rescinded job offer trend


Key takeaways

  • 26 per cent of people had a job offer rescinded in the past year. 
  • The top warning signs before a rescinded job offer are communication delays, lack of clarity and inconsistent information.
  • Over one in four people secured a new job offer after having one rescinded: 69 per cent said the new offer had better pay than the rescinded one. 
  • 44 per cent of people who had a job offer rescinded did not receive an explanation.
  • 57 per cent of people who had a job offer rescinded view it as a blessing in disguise. 
  • Real estate has the most rescinded job offers of any industry.

Influenced by rapid technological shifts and unpredictable economic factors, the contemporary job market poses unique challenges for job seekers worldwide. One challenge is the rise of rescinded job offers. How prevalent is this trend? Are specific industries or demographics more vulnerable to rescinded offers than others?

To learn more about rescinded job offers, we conducted a comprehensive survey involving over 1,000 respondents from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Our findings shed light on the scale and nature of rescinded job offers and offer guidance for those navigating the job market.

The bittersweet reality of rescinded offers

In a job market filled with uncertainties, rescinded job offers introduce another layer of complexity for hopeful candidates. How common are these employment setbacks and why do they happen?

Statistics of rescinded offers

Securing a job offer is a significant achievement, especially with the increased difficulty in job hunting. However, 26 per cent of individuals saw this accomplishment reversed when they had an offer rescinded in the past year. While 44 per cent of those who had offers rescinded received no rationale, transparent employers blamed everything from eliminated positions to failure to meet offer conditions to changes in company strategy. Two-thirds of those who had an offer rescinded believed the reason given, but 6 per cent filed complaints against would-be employers.

Among employers, the real estate industry had the most rescinded offers at 41 per cent, likely due to volatile housing markets worldwide. Information technology had the second-most revoked offers at 39 per cent, followed by retail at 32 per cent. Government jobs offered the most security, as only 7 per cent of potential government employees had an offer rescinded.

Despite the unexpected setback of a rescinded offer, not every worker felt negatively about the experience. Over half (57 per cent) of affected candidates viewed the lost opportunity as a blessing in disguise.

Contributing causes and warning signs

Looking more closely at rescinded job offers, what factors affect them? Are there warning signs that can prepare candidates beforehand?

Risk factors

Candidates’ educational backgrounds did not protect them against rescinded offers. Those holding an associate degree faced the highest percentage of rescinded offers at 37 per cent, but candidates with doctorates had the second-highest rate at 31 per cent. Meanwhile, candidates with some college experience but no degree had the second-lowest rate of rescinded offers at just 23 per cent. Individuals with professional degrees like MBAs (20 per cent) were the least likely to have an offer rescinded.

No matter the job candidates’ education levels, the financial implications of these broken offers were significant. The average salary of rescinded offers was $71,070 (US$45,660) in the United States and $47,828 (£25,148) in the United Kingdom. For a notable 6 per cent, the sting was even more profound because they had already quit their previous job before their new employer rescinded the offer.

Reviewing the hiring experience, candidates identified warning signs that could have prepared them before an offer fell through. The top indicators of a shaky job offer were communication delays (58 per cent), lack of clarity (40 per cent) and inconsistent information (33 per cent) provided by the prospective employer. Another 20 per cent experienced reduced employer enthusiasm and 14 per cent dealt with changing company contacts. 

Bouncing back and safeguarding future pursuits

Despite the disheartening experience of a rescinded offer, many job seekers bounce back with even brighter prospects. How quickly are they finding new opportunities and what can potential candidates do to avoid such pitfalls in the first place?

Future Forward

After the initial setback of a rescinded offer, over one in four individuals landed a new job within 33 days, on average. As a reward for their resilience, 69 per cent reported that their subsequent job offer boasted a higher salary, 67 per cent indicated enhanced benefits and 57 per cent secured a position with a more senior title.

For those who would rather skip the emotional pitfalls of a rescinded offer, respondents identified some common “red flags” in job postings. The most common red flag was a job that seemed too good to be true; 70 per cent of respondents warned against this type of job post. Another 67 per cent warned of vague job descriptions. Job seekers may also want to be cautious of job listings without salary information, contact information, or a job title.

The modern job landscape offers many challenges. While no industry or demographic is safe from the setback of revoked offers, job seekers can protect themselves by identifying red flags in job postings and looking for warning signs during the hiring process. 

The good news is a rescinded job offer does not signal the end of the employment road. Remaining resilient and persistent, disappointed candidates can look forward to bigger and better offers.

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We surveyed 1,007 respondents from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Of those, 39 per cent were from the U.K., 60 per cent were from the U.S. and 1 per cent were from Australia. Among respondents, 52 per cent were men, 46 per cent were women and 1 per cent were non-binary. By generation, 9 per cent were baby boomers, 19 per cent were Gen X, 60 per cent were millennials and 12 per cent were Gen Z.

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