Is it time for the Job board Obituary: Part Two

Posted on February 14, 2010 by

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Following on from part one, where we started looking into the history of Job Boards in preparation for the “Job Boards 2020?” discussion at TRU London.

By 2000 CareerBuilder (then no. 2 US site) and one of the original sites back from 1994, was purchased by US newspaper groups Knight Rider and Tribune company. It would take the UK newspaper groups another 2-4 years before their acquisition flurry of .coms would kick off.

In 2001 Monster US (then no. 3) attempted to reach the top spot with a stock buyout of HotJobs for $374m, but Yahoo shocked the web world and paid in cash $430m for the business. By 2002 after the bubble burst, Monster.com posted a loss of $504m. Only last week, Feb 2010 Monster finally got their hands on HotJobs buying it from Yahoo for $225m.

In the early 2000’s the job board had reached mainstream popularity, it was no longer the tool for just the techie that it had once been. The web was growing its audience. The candidate application process had overcome its earlier obstacles of companies not being online. The success of smoothing out the difficulties to apply for a job was a double-edged sword for the industry, that we still suffer from a decade later.

For the first time ever it was easy to apply for a job – no handwritten application form or snail mailing a CV at the cost of a stamp and finding a post box (one of those red things – in UK). Now it was a point and click, the only draw back was Internet access was still largely 56k modems (shiver as I remember!).

Employers and recruitment consultants are now flooded with candidates. Solving this problem was the advent of the candidate database, where employers and recruitment agencies could search through their volumes of candidates; a file cabinet with some CVs in was no longer feasible. An entire new industry sector has been created.

How many job boards are there today – I have found various reports of over 40,000, typically this seems to be a US figure. As always with Internet figures this is a big number. The main growth period was 1995 to 2000, since 2000 the overall number has not seen such exponential growth as those first five boom years.

With such a fragmented and large online market it may come as little surprise that the market is split into two distinct groups. The first is a club (in the UK) with only a handful of members such as Jobsite, Total Jobs, and Monster. It’s the big boys with annual revenues in the  millions. These organisations are holding on to a small, but relatively huge, market share of 3-5% each. And then there exists a flurry of tens of thousands of sites typically with 0.001% to 0.5% market share, a few leaders of this group enjoy 1% to 2% share.

So how is the Job Board performing today?

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