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15 Surprising Employee Referral Statistics That Matter

Referred employees are four times more likely to get employed than those who are not. This is thanks to programs known as employee referral programs. But what exactly are these programs? Are they effective?

Employee referral statistics show that there are way more advantages than disadvantages to these programs.

One study found that ​Over 45% of employees referred by colleagues stay for more than four years, while only 25% of employees sourced through job boards stay for longer than two years. Referrals were favored by 82% of employers for yielding the best return on investment (ROI)

This proves that they are effective in recruiting quality labor. Referrals are also more likely to get hired. Employers often offer incentives to those who refer potential employees.

Have a look at these employee referral statistics to gain further insight into these crucial programs.

What Are Employee Referrals?

An employee referral program is a recruitment approach in which businesses incentivize current workers to recommend eligible candidates for open positions in their company by rewarding them. These programs often leverage referral software to streamline the process and enhance efficiency. 

Employment recommendation programs provide an organized process for current workers to link persons in their professional network with available openings at their organization.

According to referral rates, 32% of workers recommend skilled labor to improve their organization.

Employers frequently compensate current workers who refer successful applicants as a way of thanking them for saving the organization time and effort during the job hunt as seen on their paycheck stub abbreviations.

Employees must first interact with their boss and complete out documents to retain a detailed record of the candidates they suggested to obtain a referral bonus or reward. In 2019, the average referral bonus awarded to an employee was $2,500.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Employee Referrals

There are many advantages to employee referral programs. However, there are also a few disadvantages. Take a look at this list of information and statistics on both the advantages and disadvantages of these programs.

 Advantages Of Employee Referrals

When an existing employee suggests a candidate, it may speak volumes for them.

Not only will the present employee, the referrer, wish to contribute to the company’s culture rather than detract from it, but they’ll also testify for the referred person’s essential abilities and qualifications.

Employee Referrals Speed Up The Hiring Process

Your staff would do indirect applicant screening since they are well-versed in job requirements. As a result, the candidate applications you receive as a result of an employee reference are more quality leads than you would otherwise receive.

The average time it took to fill a position without an employee reference was 60 days. Employee referrals took 35–40 days to fill a position.

Employee Referrals Show A Higher Conversion Rate

Job applicants who are referred by coworkers are more likely to advance in the interview process. Employee referrals increase the likelihood of a job match by 2.6–6.6%.

Only 25% of workers recruited through job boards stay for more than two years, whereas 45 percent of employees obtained through employee referrals stay for more than four years.

Employee Referrals Offer The Highest Return Of Investment

Recruitment is a costly procedure. When it comes to hiring, businesses spend a lot of money. There are both direct and indirect costs. The commission that is paid to recruiting companies is a direct expense.

You might easily pay the recruiting agency 20-30% of yearly employee compensation, but a referral incentive just requires 2-3% of annual employee pay.

Employee referrals were ranked first among all sourcing alternatives by 82 percent of employees. Employers rated employee referrals as the most reliable source for generating quality new hires with 88 percent.

Employee Referrals Improve Employee Engagement

Employees are more likely to suggest potential jobs if they are rewarded, which is why over 70% of organizations provide monetary incentives ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to employees who can refer appropriate prospects.

Disadvantages Of Employee Referrals

Employee recommendations have no negatives that exceed the positives, but there are still a few to consider. Here are some downsides of employee recommendations to consider when making a hiring decision.

 Recommendations May Be Biased

While an employee’s objectives should be genuine in most cases, there may be instances where a person just wishes to work with a buddy or obtain a referral incentive.

As a result, the applicant may not be as qualified as the referrer or the referee claimed.

The referrer may believe that by compensating for the candidate’s weaknesses or providing a crash course to level-set their skills, they may compensate for the candidate’s inadequacies. This may have a detrimental influence on their productivity.

Employee Referrals May Allow For Negative Business Politics

Employee recommendations have the advantage of positively impacting peer morale, but they can also generate unneeded stress. Peers may be critical of the new duo, especially if external hiring was chosen over an internal promotion.

Furthermore, the referrer may be hesitant to criticize the person to whom they have recommended. This type of environment might also have a detrimental influence on their productivity.

If The Referrer Leaves, Their Recommendation May Leave Too

It’s possible that if one goes, the other will follow. Whether one leaves for personal reasons, workplace politics, or a better opportunity, there is a chance that their counterpart will do the same.

If difficulties with team relations aren’t addressed and rectified, this risk may increase. So, beyond any initial onboarding, it’s critical to stay engaged with a new recruit to ensure they’re linked to the company as a whole, not only the person who suggested them.

Statistics on employee referrals

​Employees who refer a successful hire are offered alternatives to monetary rewards in 15% of companies.

​Referrals are most likely to result in a job at a company with less than 100 employees.

​Using referrals increases retention by 46% for employers.

​Employee referral bonuses are the most effective incentive for employers, according to 71% of employers.

​Generally, referral employees are more profitable for their employers by 25%.

Are Referrals More Likely To Get Hired?

An applicant who receives such a reference is significantly more likely to have their resume evaluated, invited to an interview, and offered a job.

In the United States, referrals account for 30 to 50 percent of all new employees. In fact, a candidate who is invited for an interview has a 40% higher probability of being recruited than other prospective employees. 

In other words, referred candidates are four times more likely to land a job through their referrals than those candidates who were chosen for interviews through company recruitment websites.


It is clear from the information and statistics mentioned in this article that employee referral programs largely benefit companies. They save time and money, as well as boost employee morale. There are very few disadvantages to take into consideration.

Overall, statistics prove that employee referral programs are effective tools to use during the hiring process.

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