60+ Employee Referral Statistics and Trends [2024]

November 14, 2023 0 Comments

Should you opt for an Employee Referral Program?

Does employee referral really work in the cooperate world?

Employee referral statistics confirm that:

  • Referred candidates are hired at the rate of 30%
  • Rates are as low as 7% for other job applicants.
  • Referrals are 5X more likely to be hired.

Empower your hiring with employee referral statistics.

Top Employee Referral Statistics: Editor’s Pick

  1. 82% of Employee Referrals yield the best ROI. [3]
  2. Referral Employees are more profitable for their employers by 25%. [11]
  3. In 2020, the average referral bonus was $1500. [12]
  4. 45% of employees sourced from referrals stay for 4+ years. [14]
  5. Only 25% of Employees sourced from job boards stay for 2+ years. [14]
  6. Overall, referral employees had a 28.5% chance of being hired, while non-referral employees only had a 2.7% chance. [4]
employers rated employee referral above other sources

What are Employee Referral Programs?

Let’s get down to the basics and understand what the hype is all about.

Employee Referral Programs are offered to hire quality candidates and reward the employees who refer them. 

32% of employees recommend suitably skilled candidates for their organization’s growth. [6]

Incentives act as good motivators to refer to quality personnel.

70% of companies offer between $1,000 and $5,000 as cash incentives for referring employers. [7]

Referral statistics suggest that job seekers are 46% more likely to be hired and interviewed on the basis of personal relationships with the company’s staff. [9]

Only 4% of company referral programs hire 30% of employees via referrals. [13]

Average employee referral programs take 15 to 25 days to hire, which is much less compared to other recruitment processes.

Around 33% of companies use third-party software to manage their employee referral programs. [9]

According to referral data, around 41% of referrals in companies come from external networks and contacts. [9]

Employees usually refer suitable candidates to their social or professional networks.

Here arises the question,  

Why would employees participate in Employee Referral Programs?

top reasons employees submit referrals
  1. Out of friendship and relationship with the person they refer.
  2. To be recognized and considered a valuable asset to the company.
  3. Help the company’s growth.
  4. Money and incentives.

Why Choose Employee Referrals?

Want to get placed at a better company?

Want to hire high-value employees?

With 82% of employers favoring referrals for yielding the best investment returns. [5]

Whether you are seeking or providing employment, there are numerous benefits of Employee Referrals. 

referrals are more likely to be hired

Let’s understand the reasons for choosing Employee Referral from the employee’s POV.

Look out for the following Employee Referral Statistics to get a dream job:

Based on performance

  • Employee Referrals are more likely to perform better as there is a 2.6-6.6% increase in the likelihood of a job match. [5]
  • New hires sourced via referral programs produce 25% more profit for their companies than new hires sourced via other means. [3]
  • So, from employer data, we conclude that Referred Employees are more likely to match employer requirements than others.
  • The referrers have already done screening about the candidate’s ability to work and fit in the job culture.
  • 70% of employers state that referred employees fit the company culture and environment better than hires from other sources. [1]

Based on frequency

Year after year employers are seen to be more inclined towards the Employee Referral Program, than other sites and sources.

  • Employers confirmed referrals as the most reliable source for generating hiring high-value candidates with 88%. [9]
  • About 71% of employers have a referral program in the US. [11]
  • Employers offer bonuses and incentives to participating employees. The Dell company, for instance, uses its referral program to gather 40k-50k referrals each year.
incentives for employee referral
  • In the US, given that 30-40% of hires were referrals, only 7% of total applicants were referrals, in 2022. So, less competition and more chances of getting the job. It means if 100 people apply for a job with 10 openings. 7 candidates among these hundreds would be referrals with 2 having surety of being hired. Only 7 among the rest 93 would be hired. [11]
  • The Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm has one of the best referral programs, with 55% of hires each year
  • Around half of internal hires are referrals. [15]
  • Referrals have a 28.5% chance of being hired, while non-referrals have only a 2.7% chance. [4]
  • With 82% of total hires, Employee referrals gained the top position among all hiring sources. [4]

Based on company age and size

Companies with 0 to 20 years of age tend to rely more on referrals. 

While companies with 41 to 60 years of age hire roughly 21% of their employees from referrals.

referrals by company age

Companies with 500-1000 employees are less likely to prefer referrals, with a rate of 22%. All other company sizes have an equally good referral rate.

Overall, about 27% of companies use Employee Referral Program and cash incentives to add quality members to their teams. [10]

Where do you stand in line? 

Let’s dig deeper into the Hiring game from the Employer’s POV: 

Based on the hiring time

duration of recruiting by different sources
  • Human Resource Statistics suggest that job site candidates are hired nearly in 39 to 55 days, while referral applicants get hired within 29 days. [8]
  • 67% of employers confirmed that the recruiting process for referrals is shorter. [1]
  • ToolBox data revealed that hiring employees via referrals is 55% faster compared to other sources.

Based on the hiring cost

employee referrals save a company over $7500 per hire
  • 51% of employers confirmed that the referred applicants are less expensive to recruit. [1]
  • Employee Compensation is more costly than referral incentives. [5]
  • While 20-30% of yearly employee compensation is used in recruiting agency charges, it is only 2-3% in referral incentives. [5]
  • Traditional recruiting is often more expensive than referrals.

How Likely are Referred Employees to Get the Job?

What are your chances of finding a good job in 2024?

Here is what we found,

The United States is facing talent shortages with 69% of employers facing difficulty filling vacancies with suitable candidates. [2]

A boost up to self-confidence, right!?

Nearly 40% of staffing needs are being fulfilled through recommendations. [8]

Referrals are getting more interview calls than other candidates, no matter the qualifications. 

48% of businesses state that their top channel for quality hires is employee referrals. [2]

Difference Between Referral and Non-Referral Sourcing

Still confused about your hiring chances via other sources? 

Here we have uncovered the differences between various hiring methods:

Referral Non-Referral
Employee referral programs are offered by companies and agencies.Include online job boards, sites, and traditional recruiting processes.
Get hired in less than a month.The hiring process takes 2-3 months
More chances of getting a reply or interview call.52% of candidates don’t receive any communication.
Low cost of hiring with only 2-3% of annual employee compensation.Higher cost of hiring, costing 20-30% of annual employee compensation.
Retention rates are higher, with more than 3 years.Lower retention rates are less likely to last more than two years.
Fit easily into the company culture as they have been referred after screening.May face difficulty fitting into new work environments.

Increment in the use of social media platforms for hiring

As the use of social media platforms has been increasing, there has been a significant shift in recruitment procedures.

Nearly 73% of Millennials got hired through social media sites. [2]

60% of jobs are found through networking.

Self-promotion and building a network are important as only 2% of applications get a face-to-face interview. [10]

Retention Rates of Referral and Non-Referral Employees

Heard people complaining, “I wanted a stable career for long terms, but looks like this company doesn’t suit me.”

Well, that’s absolutely understandable!

Study these Employer Statistics to understand retention rates before starting your next job hunt. 

Employer Statistics prove that Referred employees have higher retention rates than non-referrals.

45% of employees sourced from referrals stay for 4+ years

On average, 47% of applicants hired from referrals stayed loyal to a company for 3 years or more. [13]

One survey confirmed that 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. [6]

Disadvantages of Employee Referrals

Do employee referrals feel too good to be true?

Let’s take a glance at the other side of the coin.

Here are some drawbacks to consider before making a decision:

  • There are high chances of basis. Referrers may recommend someone they know, even if they do not qualify for company standards and job descriptions.
  • Hiring referred employees may give rise to groupism and internal politics. Negatively impacting the work environment. 
  • Conflict and lack of agreement with any of the referred or referrer may result in losing them both.


What are the referral statistics for 2023?

Employee referrals have been rated 82% by employees. Companies save up to $7,500 in sourcing and hiring a referral. 45% of employees sourced from employee referrals stay for longer than 4 years.

What are the benefits of Employee Referral?

There are plenty of benefits of Employee Referral from employer, referral, and referrer.

Employers not only save on the cost of hiring but also increase their profits with the addition of a skilled employee to their team.

Referred candidates have a high chance of being chosen for the job. Also, 45% of employees sourced from employee referrals stay for longer than 4 years.

Referrers may receive cash incentives or bonuses to look for quality candidates. Along with a chance to work with someone they know and recognition in the office. 

What is the Employee Referral Method?

Employee Referrals offer programs in which current employees are asked to recommend other suitable candidates within their networks to apply for a position in the company.

Referrers may receive cash incentives or bonuses to look for quality candidates.

What are the disadvantages of employee referrals?

There are many disadvantages of Employee referral, along with advantages.

A major disadvantage is the inability to choose from diverse applicants, with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Current employees may refer someone they know or about by some relationship and compromise on adding value to the company. There are high chances of internal politics and conflicts.


Employee referral statistics have confirmed referrals as a beneficial method of hiring for both employees and companies. 

Referrals play a major role in increasing a company’s profits by reducing hiring costs and adding quality staff members to the team.

New hires sourced via referral programs produce 25% more profit for their companies than new hires sourced via other means. [3]

Employees participating in Referral programs receive bonuses and cash incentives. 

However, a major portion of people choose to participate because they want to be recognized as valuable assets to the company or help the referrals in getting a good job.

Candidates prefer a Referral system due to less hiring time, well-known work culture, and higher chances of being hired.

70% of employers state that referred employees fit the company culture and environment better than hires from other sources. [1]

The figures above present a clear picture of job markets and competition. And Employee Referral is a great way to sustain and grow your career and company at international levels.


  1. Prefer Hired. Stats to build your case for an employee referral program
  2. What To Become. Fascinating employee referral statistics
  3. Forbes. Let’s Toast The Holy Grail Of Hiring
  4. SHRM. Expanding Employee Referral Networks Increases Competitive Advantage
  5. CareerBuilder. The benefits of employee referral programs
  6. First Bird. Top 10 employee referral statistics you should know
  7. Everyone Social. Employee advocacy statistics
  8. Career Builder. Referral Madness
  9. Erinappp. Employee Referral Statistics You Need to Know
  10. iMocha. Why put data at the center of your talent strategy
  11. Undercover Recruiter. Why Employee Referrals are the Best Source of Hire.
  12. Talentspotting. How can employee referral help you cut recruitment costs?
  13.  ICIMS. How Employee Referrals Impact Retention.
  14. CareerBuilder. How Employee Referral Programs Turn Good Employees Into Great Recruiters and Grow Your Bottom Line.
  15.  HRTechSeries. How Employee Referrals Can Reduce Hourly Worker Turnover.

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