Friday, 26 September 2008

Impact on Press to Online Migration of a Downturn

Not a snappy heading is it? but here are a couple of slides that show the impact on the most mature online recruitment market (I.T.) - and maybe there are some lessons to be learnt for general market innext few years. The commentary is that as IT sites like Jobserve, Jobsite grew in late 90s - the press market grew simultaneously riding the IT boom.

Cue 2000-2001 post dot com crash, post Y2K, post establishment of Euro and 9/11. We saw slowing in growth in online and a complete car crash in press advertising. And when the market picked up again.... advertisers had looked at ROI, cost per response, were leaner with their ad budgets and we saw "hockey stick" growth in online and nothing at all in press. This will not be of great cheer to executives like Sly Bailey who claimed recently that downturn was cyclical - by the way how in 2008 can a CEO of a big publicly listed media company say that and not be laughed off stage by city analysts.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Why did JobJourney Fail?

OK - need to say the following things before giving my opinion

  • i have utmost respect for Totaljobs management and the way they have launched successful verticals/niche sites (retailchoice CWjobs etc)while continuing to grow the core product
  • The people i knew who were involved in it were also top drawer
  • its easy to sit on the sidelines and comment - doing it is much tougher

I also have no inside knowledge of the actual figures but take a wild leap of logic and assume it was not making a profit and presumably was showing very little sign that it would produce the requisite margin for the company going forward.

So my view is

1. Never liked the JobJourneyNorthWest geographical position. If its a local site then it needs to be local and most recruitment is city/county based. The region stretched from Cheshire to Cumbria and was up against strong Manchester, Liverpool, Preston competition. A North West job board had the feel of something invented from London. (to me anyway)

2. Connected to the point above - but Manchester has just about become the most competitive territory in online this year and this amount of competition affects yields and client retention rate as people go from one trail to another to another.

3. What does a network of local sites add up to? Answer: A big national site like.......TotalJobs. And what tends to happen in many companies is that someone from the outside (or inside) looks at the numbers and thinks - Blimey we are having to put this amount of resource and effort in to make not a lot of money - what would be the result of diverting all (or some of) this resource to our successful highly profitable national Job Board? Coincidentally there are now TotalJobs sales staff in all key regions which i guess made the situation even more striking.

4. its the economy stupid - lets not be naive - its tough out there - and launching a site is twice as hard in these delicate economic conditions. Patience and long term investment can be thin on the ground in harsher economic times.

5. RBI sell off - i believe that as the company is made ready for sell off that they have conducted a purge of products that do not minimum contribution levels. Not sure about this point - it made be a convenient excuse as if a product showed enough profit potential - it would add value to any acquisition.

Anyway - it did not work out - no shame in that and i applaud their efforts.

Good Luck to all involved in the future.

Monday, 8 September 2008

JobJourney No More

Sad news that jobjourney has been closed by RBI in both North West and Scotland. I will analyse this further but feel that is inappropriate today as my first thoughts are for the hard working people who - though i am sure RBI will make every effort to re-allocate - may end up out of work.
Best wishes to all concerned.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Big Up to Jobsite

Jobsite launched their £15m TV ad campaign yesterday in swanky Charlotte St Hotel - as my colleagues were sipping champagne and hearing the glossy presentation i was reading Chicken Licken and Hansel and Gretel to my own rather demanding audience. Its easy to carp about the effectiveness of a big TV ad campaign and whether £15 million as a budget was arrived at by multiplying everything by 2.5 and adding the first number you thought of at the end but its a great sign to the UK that online recruitment is a complete solution to people irrespective of age, class, colour or creed and i think helps us all when we are out their evangelising to the HR community. Need to mention the fact that Monster have been doing TV too but this step is really significant and may see others get their marketing cheque books out again.
As an aside - the ads star Max Beesly who speaking personally annoys me intensely - but women and people from the north (and probably everyone other than me) may disagree.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Lipstick on a Pig

Its not happened in ages but its an online recruitment classic. We got given the go ahead on a small project for a client. And out of their inventory of current job requirements we got given two absolute uber niche specialist roles to go online with that have been unfilled for 6 months), rather than their main more normal generic jobs which make up the bulk of their needs. Its where straight talking has to come in - as otherwise you end up in a few weeks after lots of hard work with disappointment and disillusionment and the potenetial to stall online migration as senior decision makers still "not sure" it works.
Digital recruitment is brilliant - but as the saying goes there is no point putting lipstick on a pig or indeed buffing a turd.