The statistics surrounding our relationship with apps are truly amazing. Statista projects that 197 billion apps will be downloaded in 2017, a rise of 31.9% on 2016, and they are also predicting that by 2021 that number will almost double to 352.9 billion. ComScore estimates that Americans aged 18-24 spend on average 3.2 hours a day on their phone, which is an awful lot of engagement with their apps. It’s important to remember that Apple’s iPhone is a little over ten years old when thinking about these stats. Apps and smartphones, which are now so important to everyday life, are still in a comparatively new technology.
Smartphones, and the apps installed on them, have completely revolutionised the way we live our lives. Facebook and Twitter were born on the desktop, but when the smartphone became commonplace their apps would be the first a customer downloaded when they got their hands on one. Along with Whatsapp, Instagram and Snapchat, it changed the way we communicate. JustEat and Deliveroo changed the way we ate. Amazon and ASOS changed the way we shopped. Google Maps meant that we were never lost again, and Uber and Citymapper made sure we were never stranded. It was only a matter of time before the app started influencing the way we approached jobs.
In 2010, Uber came along and offered those with a certain type of car and some spare time a chance to make money driving people around. Taskrabbit launched their app in 2011, allowing those with spare time and a relative adeptness with DIY a chance to earn money doing tasks for their neighbours. Deliveroo gave anyone with a bicycle a chance to become a delivery driver. The gig economy began to thrive, and though questions remain about the treatment of the workers, it was a truly new way to earn money through an app.
The recruitment sector has been a little slow on the uptake. True, many of the larger recruiting sites have apps, but they tended just to be a mobile version of their desktop. The problem stems from the reliance on cover letters. Writing a short email on your phone is fine, but a detailed account of your suitability for a job is better suited to a desktop. The larger recruiters have not innovated their process to tailor for mobile users.
There are some startling stats regarding job advertising on mobile platforms, which we have written about before. There are only a few apps that are embracing new technologies and techniques to get people in to work. Job Today acts like a Gumtree for jobs, there are half-a-dozen apps for medical staff that don’t rely on cover letters, and Flexy only requires a few words about your work history, along with a psychometric test to determine where the candidate will best be placed. It is the start-ups that are driving the job apps innovations, and the rest of the industry needs to catch up.
Apps will continue to transform the way we live. It is one exciting aspect of the times we live in to anticipate what will be the next revolutionary app. The way we work may be changing slowly due to apps, but it is certainly changing.