Recruitment sites pose no threat to trade press

Surfing the Internet to find a job is gaining momentum, but the wider social role trade magazines play guarantees them a strong future.

Contrary to what you may have heard, online recruitment sites have not yet won the war against the trade magazines with their specialist job sections. We are not seeing the death of magazine recruitment. Nor are we likely to in the foreseeable future.

Certainly, much has changed since the Internet first entered our lives, but Websites have not eclipsed the printed press – in fact, the two currently complement one another, bringing more opportunities to a greater number of people than print could ever do alone.

The larger “horizontal” or “general” recruitment sites do contain thousands of jobs, in some cases many more than print publications, with a range often much wider. But that does not necessarily mean that a hardware engineer will look to Monster.co.uk rather than Electronics Weekly for a new position. In fact, that hardware engineer is likely to use both paper and Web methods to maximise his or her options.

The role of a specialist trade publication is not simply a shop window for relevant jobs, it is used by many as a bridge to link them to others with similar interests, a community builder and an information source. Specialists will read their “chosen” publication for the news and in-depth commentary to keep in touch. This will not change and trade magazines need not despair.

Yet for those who dream of becoming a hairdresser, but have no idea that Hairdressers’ Journal exists, the Internet allows you the possibility of different career paths with just a few clicks of a mouse. It lends itself so well to recruitment, it is fast, easy to use and most importantly, simple.

However, while job vacancies on the Internet will gain more responses, those who respond to specialist magazines, on the whole, have more relevant qualifications. Therefore, employers will continue to advertise vacancies on both specialist recruitment sites and in specialist publications to receive the greatest response and ideally, to choose the perfect candidate.

What we will see is a greater convergence between online and offline – both media will change, feeding each other and improving each other at the same time. In some sectors, online will gain dominance. In others, the primary source of recruitment will be offline, with online enhancement.

Of course, this will change. Over time, more Websites will specialise in different careers, and candidates will be pre-screened and filtered to allow only the most appropriate to be shortlisted. Then the threat to specialist magazines will become acute, and they will have to do more to attract job seekers, possibly uniting their online and offline output.

However, this will take time, and by then, everything will be so automated, that families will talk of those days, long ago, when people cut down forests to make paper to create those quaint paper things called magazines.

Paul Sissons is director of RBI Recruitment and Totaljobs.com

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