21 November 2011

The job board wars: more competition please

There's plenty of fuss, quite rightly, being made of LinkedIn's massive momentum in the online employment space.

All this fuss has perhaps distracted people from what progress has been made in the fight for eyeballs and dollars in the Australian job board marketplace. 

Seek's share price has rallied from around $5 two months ago to now be sitting just above $6, yet it's still a long way from the $8 of 18 months ago. 

Seek have made no secret of where they see their significant growth occurring (overseas jobs boards, online learning portal) outside of the traditional Australian & New Zealand online jobs space, but the fund managers are not exactly knocking themselves over to take a bigger position in our most profitable job board. 

The two big traditional newspaper publishers, News Ltd and Fairfax Media have both gained new CEOs in the past 12 months. Kim Williams (News) and Greg Hywood (Fairfax) are both very competitive men, not used to being on the losing side. Their public pronouncements on their respective organisations' employment offerings will be watched with a great deal of interest by the recruitment sector. 

But firstly, what has happened online in the past five years with job boards? 

Here's my summary, thanks to data supplied by Neilson//NetRatings as published in recruitment extra. 



Average Daily Unique Browsers (000's)
Rank
Site
Sept 2011
July 2008
Aug 2006
1
seek.com.au
316.8
213.0
67.7
2
careerone.com.au
75.5
67.8
24.4
3
mycareer.com.au
67.7
62.7
33.0
4
jobsearch.gov.au
33.9
40.3
20.6

  


Page impressions (000,000's)
Rank
Site
Sept 2011
July 2008
Aug 2006
1
seek.com.au
139.0
119.1
81.3
2
careerone.com.au
15.2
18.6
15.2
3
jobsearch.gov.au
14.5
35.3
43.1
4
mycareer.com.au
14.3
19.7
22.2

My conclusions from this data: 

·         Seek's lead over the #2 has continued to grow over time. In August 2006, Seek's lead in unique daily browsers was 105% over the-then #2 mycareer. By September 2011 Seek's lead over the now #2 (careerone) was 372%. This is mirrored in page impressions where Seek's 2066 lead has gone from 89% over jobsearch.gov.au (#2 then) to now 816% over the current #2, careerone.  

·         CareerOne has been the big improver. In August 2006 both its page impressions and unique daily browsers were approximately two thirds of mycareer's. As of September this year, careerone is now 12% ahead of mycareer in unique daily browsers and 6% ahead in page impressions.  

·         Mycareer and jobsearch both continue to drop away. The jobsearch page impressions figure has plummeted two thirds since 2006.  

·         Seek has continued to grow their page impressions while their competitors have not. Seek's page impression growth from July 2008 to September 2011 has been 16.8% contrasting strongly with the page impression declines recorded for each of the other three job boards in the top 4 (-18.3% for CareerOne, -59% for jobsearch and -27.4% for mycareer).

I am sure everyone in the recruitment agency world would agree that strong competition in the job board space is essential. Earlier this year there was plenty of online comment on Jonathan Rice's blog when Seek announced a hefty price increase. Also, a few of my clients passed comment to me that recently Seek account managers seem to have a shorter tenure in their role than has been the case in the past. 

I was encouraged when I met CareerOne CEO, Michael Harvey last week for a conversation about CareerOne. He's a man certainly focused on providing a very competitive offering in the Australian online employment marketplace. Since September 2006, when Harvey joined CareerOne as COO, he has clearly made an impact in differentiating the CareerOne product from that of mycareer. 

The joint venture between News Ltd and Monster Worldwide is now starting to pay dividends for CareerOne. Harvey is confident that both the existing product BeKnown and SeeMore product (just launched this week), will ensure CareerOne is not put in the shade by perennial #1, Seek or new-kid-in-town, LinkedIn. 

That's good news for all stakeholders in the recruitment industry. Recruitment agencies are all used to fierce competition and we welcome and encourage the same within our suppliers, especially ones with which we spend tens of thousands of dollars. 

Related articles
LinkedIn Trumpets aggressive grab for recruitment agency market
RIP: Fairfax Media Employment classifieds

2 comments:

  1. Interesting points, but you need big $$ to be competing with SEEK. If any job board thinks they can take on SEEK or LinkedIn you better have very large pockets with an endless supply of cash.

    SEEK/LinkedIn tie up in the marketplace is a possibility. SEEK focused on digital advertising, LinkedIn focusing on digital networking.

    MyCareer, CareerOne don't bring much to the table except legacy support of local print classifieds with an ever decreasing eyeball count when you factor in internet penetration and % growth in the marketplace.

    SEEK generates an enormous yield from each job ad and will continue to help shift key categories - government, health, education - from print to online.

    If MyCareer & CareerOne ever got together (if they put aside politics) MyCareerOne would not atract the combined eyeballs of both sites as they are today. Job seekers tend to visit more than 1 job board for certain roles.

    If we look at the Nielsen stats when incorporating the numbers from LinkedIn we get

    1-SEEK, 2-LinkedIn, 3-CareerOne, 4-MyCareer

    BUT as you pointed out there is a big difference between 1 and 3.

    CareerOne/MyCareer COULD become a stronger number 3 player (not number 2, but 3o r 4) in the marketplace.

    CareerOne's focus on "technology" and product dilution with BeKnown moves the focus away from "competing with the average job seeker" to "competing with the techsavvy job seeker"

    Looking at the financials of CareerOne/Monster JV reported by Shortlist (28 Oct 2011) it dose not paint a rosey picture considering the network of digital properties and newspaper assets they have access to.

    Always a good read..


    "Monster made a net loss of $US513k from its CareerOne investment during the September quarter, according to unaudited results released with Monster's quarterly financial statements last night.

    This indicates CareerOne's total loss for the period was around $US1.26 million, given Monster has an equal joint venture partnership in the business with News Ltd.

    It's an improvement on the estimated $US1.9 million quarterly loss CareerOne recorded in Q3 2010.

    The site has continued to reduce the rate of its losses since last year.

    For the nine months to September, Monster booked a $1.5 million net loss in CareerOne (indicating a $US3 million total loss), compared to a $2.8 million ($5.6 million total) loss for the same period a year ago.

    Monster reported that in the nine months to September, it contributed $2.6 million in additional working capital to CareerOne, down 42% year-on-year.

    The company stated the carrying value of its investment in CareerOne as $1.1 million at September 30 (up from $918k a year earlier) putting the total joint venture carrying value at an estimated $2.2 million."

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  2. I agree with the above on alot of points

    Everyone says they are a monopoly and too powerful, but no-one else will put in the required $$ and time

    I can remember when it first started and the Seek founders worked like utter dogs for a long long time, investing like no tomorrow - everyone else had the chance but I can clearly remember more than one newspaper and media exec saying it would never work ( want tomato sauce with that! )

    I still think Seek is a bargain - lets not forget back in the 90's what the paper advertising costs were........and you had to advertise in more than one and the bastards were price fixing ( no one will admit it ) like no tomorrow

    With Seek I put on what I want, when I want , how I want and don't have to deal with sales execs and their smarmy sales pitch . If I need more ads, I pay for them, if I want to change something, I can


    Imagine , in 1995 , if you told someone you could have 50 ads that would generate more applicants than a months worth of advertising and costs you a tenth of what you were paying

    They'd lock you up.....

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