Sunday, August 9, 2009

Online recruitment down - it's the media's fault

A recent report by the IAB, compiled by PWC and published on mUmBRELLA, saw recruitment making up just 1.4% of total online ad spend in the last quarter. This time three years ago, it was 5%.

So in a period when online advertising has still continued to grow (by 9%), online recruitment advertising has contracted.

And I'm blaming the media.

After all, this decline isn't really a surprise to me: I work at a recruitment advertising agency.

We've seen a dramatic fall in campaigns, and many clients I've spoken to have real internal issues to deal with. I'll bet my last Rolo that many of them were under the cosh to prove their worth to the business.

But this decline in online recruitment advertising isn't the fault of our clients.

Really, the blame lies squarely with our bloated friends sitting on their inflatable zeppelins, dictating to us minions what we can and can't have on their sites.

Because, here in Oz (unlike, say, the UK), the media landscape is dominated by a few monopolies. In online, the job boards are dominated by a goliath called Seek. The two other players (MyCareer and CareerOne) still haven't managed to get close.

In addition, here in Oz it's all about horizontal job boards - there's very little choice in terms of niche, industry or specialist sites. You've got the major metros, the main job boards, a few other sites (if you know your media) and... well... that's about it.

The outcome is a laziness in coming up with new technology and ideas. Why bother developing a range of different options if you know they're pretty much certain to post a job with you?

Well, if you're only offering short-fix options for employers who are currently recruiting - you're kinda stuffed when the recruitment stops. And that's exactly wha... Ok. Point made.

Job sites need to offer organisations options that force them to think about how they position themselves as a place to work. They need to get organisations thinking about how they shape up against their competitors - are they doing more impressive work, is their content more engaging, have they positioned themselves as the employer of choice?

After all, there are heaps of candidates out there, but it's still competitive for the best candidates. And if you want your business to succeed, you need them.

So I foresee an opportunity for niche sites to grow. And I also foresee an opportunity for the smaller job boards to steal a march on the current leader. Monster recently entered the market, joining forces with CareerOne, and I've witnessed their ambitious plans, as well as the great tactical initiatives they're offering now - and in the future.

While the industry isn't roaring ahead like we were this time last year, we've got some interesting trends to watch out for.

Bring it on, I say.

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