Finding a nine-to-five online

More and more job seekers are turning to specialist recruitment websites to find employment, and as advertisers divert more of their classified spend online traditional media are feeling the pressure

In the past year, there has been a flurry of acquisitions and activity as traditional media owners, such as Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp and rival Trinity Mirror Group, look to up their online presence.

While acquisitions have included lifestyle sites such as MySpace (NewsCorp recently acquired Intermix Media, owner of, for &£332.9m), these traditional media owners have also been keen to move in on recruitment websites.

Late last year Trinity Mirror snapped up the UK’s second-biggest online recruitment business – hotgroup – for &£50.5m having already bought graduate recruitment site

For media owners, online recruitment sites offer growing revenue streams in an environment where there are downward pressures on traditional classified advertising. Online recruitment websites are more popular than ever, as demonstrated by the figures from the National Online Recruitment Audience Survey (NORAS) and ABC Electronic 2006 research (MW March 9).

As a result, online recruitment companies are taking a bigger slice of the classified and display recruitment advertising pie. In fact, they are taking an increasing share of general display advertising spend.

Figures from the UK Online Media Spend report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reveal that spend on recruitment advertising online has been growing by around 80% year on year. In terms of spend by advertising category in the first half of 2005; recruitment advertising was top, at 19.7%, ahead of finance at 19.4% and technology at 13.5%.

This trend in recruitment advertising online mirrors the growing popularity of online advertising in general. The PwC research also reveals that overall online advertising spend increased by 62% in the first half of 2005. To put this in context, the growth in television advertising spend over the same period was 3%. Therefore, online has firmly established itself as an advertising and response channel of choice for marketing professionals.

In the classified recruitment market, according to research by the Advertising Association, out of a total recruitment advertising market of &£1.15bn in 2005, &£200m was spent online. This same research reveals that across all media, spend on recruitment advertising in the local press was the most popular with &£600m spent. Some &£300m was spent in the trade press and &£250m in the national press.

In terms of those searching for jobs online, the NORAS 2006 research (put together from the responses of 18,734 consumers who use recruitment websites) reveals that a large cross section of ordinary people are using recruitment websites to find suitable jobs in their chosen area.

Today, you are just as likely to get mums looking for part-time retail work, as you are IT professionals looking for new positions (the group is traditionally associated with online recruitment sites).

According to NORAS, 27% of those job seekers using a recruitment website are looking for temporary work and 21% for a part-time job. Of these, 77% applied for jobs online, with 43% e-mailing their CV to an employer and 28% completing an application form online. Just 6% put a hard copy of their CV in the post.

Online recruitment websites do achieve results for their users. NORAS found that 75% applied for a job they found online, with 52% succeeding via this route.

Due to the obvious benefits to both job seekers and advertisers of using a recruitment website – they are fast, highly interactive and cost effective – many job sites are increasingly providing a wide range of products that aid both sets of clients in their objectives. These include targeted new job e-mail alerts (that offer sponsorship opportunities to marketers), client micro-sites, channel partnerships and candidate driven CV databases. These are products and services that recruitment advertising in a publication cannot provide.

At a time when the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says 85% of all UK companies are facing recruitment difficulties, there’s no question that the internet provides a vitally important route to sourcing quality staff with the desired qualifications and expertise.

If the current trends continue, as they no doubt will, the online classified recruitment advertising sector has the potential to take the lion’s share of recruitment advertising spend. This presents a huge opportunity for those market-leading recruitment websites that effectively bring job seekers and advertisers together, and provide a wide range of products and services outside the traditional job advertisement offering.

Keith Rattray, founder

Digital media has been enjoying a veritable boom since 2003, and classified is a major contributing factor. The recruitment sector is undoubtedly a hugely important component of online classified advertising, which is precisely why traditional media owners are so keen to protect their interests with acquisitions in this area and others such as property. From a consumer point of view, recruitment sites need to be ever more engaging in order to stand out and attract the right calibre of candidate. Increasing expenditure by recruitment companies reflects advertiser confidence in this medium to deliver cost effective results. Ironically, it is the digital media employment sector that is currently crying out for talent to accommodate this growth, which can only be a positive barometer for the market.


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