I have been blogging and presenting on the practice of Employment Branding since 2005, and facilitating a group on LinkedIn focused on this subject matter since 2009. This is an area of human resource management that I’m zealously passionate about, and the group has served as an excellent opportunity to connect with and learn from other like-minded professionals who truly believe in the importance and value of making great hires for every opening.
While I have put little to intermittently no effort into promoting or growing the group, there’s been a sustained, if slow, ongoing membership growth particularly since early 2011. As I have lived and worked my whole life based in New England, it’s no surprise that more members are from the Boston area than anywhere else, at 6% of the membership. What I’ve found to be extremely surprising is the growth of membership outside the US. Beyond Boston and Chicago- the top two demographics in this group-, the next largest groups are in New Zealand and Canada, with a good percentage coming from Australia, India, and Russia. What exactly does this mean?
I believe this shows that the idea of globalization is becoming a reality, that organizations across the world are buying into the value and importance of employment branding. Given the development of remote employment opportunities and increasing ease of global mobility and expatriate careers, are US employers now competing directly with Global organizations for talent?
Jeff Dickey-Chasins, AKA the Job Board Doctor, posted the results of his ongoing research into online job posting, from the perspectives of both job seekers and recruiters. Dickey-Chasins is aveteran of the job board industry with his finger on the pulse of the market, making him a valuable resource.
Here a brief excerpt, and link to the full blog post of the results:
When looking at these data points, a couple things jump out at me. Apparently, nothing has really changed in the recruiting world over the past several decades, with the number one challenge continuing to be a lack of qualified candidates. You’d think with the huge number of unemployed, the responses would have indicated that parsing the qualified applicants from the unqualified would be the biggest challenge, not that there simply is a lack of qualified seekers. Tangentially, have recruiters developed unrealistic definitions of “qualified”?
The second thing that jumped out is the small number of job seekers who found a job on a niche site. I would be interested to see demography to understand if these seekers were located in larger metro areas or smaller rural communities. What I see in the market is that larger general job boards are working on a model that caters almost exclusively to the large nationwide or international businesses- a model that include pricing breaks for high volume posting and a focus on employers who can provide automated posting feeds to the boards. Niche boards should still be well-positioned, I would think, to capture market share for small and mid-sized companies that can’t automate the posting process and aren’t using upper echelon ATS systems. If you look for jobs in Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, or any other tier 3 state (based on population and number of businesses), there are still many jobs posted on the local boards that never make it to the large national job boards or aggregating websites.
I realize Pareto’s principle is at work here, and that large job boards are focused on the 80% of the market share coming from the 20% of the employers. While that makes for a financially successful business model, it provides a disservice to the job seekers living in rural areas or wishing to work for small businesses. Perhaps the niche job boards would be best served to only sell postings to niche businesses, and include a clause in their agreement that prevents these small businesses from posting on general national sites? Not really plausible, but an interesting idea to ponder.
The final two months of 2008 resulted in a precipitous decline in job posting activity on our site as the economy began to tumble off the cliff, to paraphrase Warren Buffett’s sentiments. Since the beginning of 2009, I’ve been focusing my attention on identifying and developing new programs and services that will add value to the users of our company’s web service- namely HR professionals, small business owners and managers, recruiters, and job seekers- in order to stay relevant and viable.
Regardless of which rocks I look under, the hard fact is that anything which we develop will be related to a job market that is a shadow of what it was 2 years ago. Indeed, when the market was booming, it was easy street in the employment advertising sector- between 2004 and 2008 the number of online job boards increased from around 30,000 to over 100,000 due to the huge demand and growing value of web-based advertising platforms. Everyone with a dream of making it rich in e-commerce, it seemed, was staking a claim in this vast space, with our without strong business plans or depth of knowledge in this market.
It makes me think of the San Francisco Gold Rush of the 1850′s. Back then, plain folk from all over the country (and even from overseas) packed up all their worldly belongings and set out to find gold and strike it rich. Very few of these “miners” had the knowledge or know-how to mine effectively; many, in fact, failed to even make the distinction between real gold and other, less precious minerals. At the time, though, the feeling was that it didn’t matter what you knew- anyone could do it. All you had to do was dig around, sift through some riverbeds, and one day, your time and effort will pay off.
Today, anyone who can put together a little HTML and set up PayPal and Google Adsense accounts seems to have packed up their belongings and hitched their wagon to the job posting rush of the mid 2000′s. And similar to the Gold Rush, very few possess the depth or breadth of knowledge that is vital to providing a lasting and reliable resource in this market.
Personally, it’s sad to see all these new job posting sites popping up that simply scrape postings from other sites, ensure they are search engine optimized, and hope for some free money from the Google ad links that they paste all over the place. They’re trying to get rich off the backs of real businesses who are working tirelessly to help employers find the best candidates available, and help job seekers access real, legitimate job opportunities.
Next on the horizon, we’re looking at adding some punch to our Company Spotlights by perhaps adding some audio. The thinking here is that this will give employers a second dimension to engage job seekers, and really allow the personality of the company to shine. We’re also exploring outlets to share the labor market data we accumulate in a format that will help job seekers better evaluate the employment landscape.
Now I’m beginning to feel like a blowhard. Really what I’m trying to convey is that good business is based on increasing the value you present, not on merely making a better package. I’m a firm believer that by doing good, we can all do well. In our industry, doing good means helping people and employers be successful.
When it comes down to it, the value of any business is most accurately measured by the trust of its customers. Sometimes I feel like an old fashioned fuddy-duddy, still clinging to basic business principles of a bygone era, while the youngin’s wrap empty solutions in slick online marketing, and reap short term gains. Then, I remember that despite the speed of development and information sharing, long term business success must be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint.
Steve Porter, who is an Outreach Consultant with JobsInRI, has been working closely with the Workforce Development Specialist, Amy Driscoll, at the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) to help connect employers and job seekers in that industry. Amy’s role is part of the RI Hospitality Education Foundation. Together, they’ve developed and delivered presentations at netWORKri offices across the state to job seekers focused on Transferring Skills to new careers.
The reports I’m getting back have been eye opening, and provide tremendous insight into the struggles of both job seekers and employers. As you may already be aware, RI is now tied for the highest unemployment rate in the US. The presentation has been very helpful in showing candidates how to do their own skills inventory, and identify the soft skills they have that can transfer into new jobs. The target is really the recently unemployed, and those who have been out of the market for so long, they’re out of the loop in the new job hunting world.
Great work and congratulations goes to the folks at the RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF) who have spearheaded this charge, and are out there making a difference!
In addition, the RIHEF lead a seminar to analyze how to find and train soft skills for the next generation workforce- high school students and teens. The idea here is to help develop the real world skills that are necessary to fill positions in the hospitality industry. (I have to say, focusing on this younger group is both forward thinking and creatively strategic. If more business leaders, association leaders, and community organizations were similarly focused, we could see a significant rise in apprenticeship style education, which I’m all for)
Any way, here are some bullets of the issues facing this one industry in this one state, as reported by the JobsInRI Outreach Consultant:
– Many of the RIHA member restaurants and hotels have openings, but can’t find good people.
– In the business of hospitality, budgets will be cut and expenses reduced, but layoffs are usually the last option.
– The RIHA doesn’t feel the recession has affected the RI industry too deeply. Business at most restaurants and hotels are still down slightly, though.
– The Newport business climate has not been hit badly at all, which is where the center of the tourism universe resides in RI.
– The universal belief is that next year’s tourist season will be excellent. Optimism is high.
– The RIHA specialist maintains a folder of job openings from hotels and restaurants that she is personally trying to fill. Following the seminars, she speaks one-on-one with candidates searching for the right kind of people.
– Many are frustrated with employment advertising options. The paper is expensive and online job boards result in too many desperate, inexperienced candidates.
– In addition, while resume databases are exceptional for finding employees with specific hard skills (certifications, degrees, years of experience) they fail profoundly in finding candidates with strong soft skills (team player, customer service, friendliness, communication, etc.).
– They are desperate for candidates with exceptional soft skills which is what fuels their industry.
Great work Steve, thanks for those insights!
Well, that’s how it looks from the recruiting front lines at the intersection of Rhode Island and Hospitality!
The properties of JobsInTheUS have launched a focused initiative to reinforce strong and lasting connections with the local communities they serve in AL, LA, MA, ME, MS, NH, VT, & RI. Unlike most internet resources, these companies are participatory in local business and trade associations, HR Associations, career centers at colleges, universities, trades schools, and government centers. In addition to this interaction with the business community, the JobsInTheUS.com websites now also provide in-person events to connect great in-state employers with the best local talent. Check out this series of posts with briefs on the recent career fairs hosted by JobsInAL, JobsInNH, JobsInME, and JobsInRI!
On Thursday, September 18, JobsInRI.com, in partnership with the Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, hosted a successful career fair at the Twin River Gaming Facility in Lincoln. Merchant Card Services, Express Personnel, and AAA of Southern New England sponsored the event, which was heavily advertised on multiple radios station, on area campuses, through local business and trade associations, and by email invitations to job seekers. Unlike other recent events, the more than 600 job seekers who attended were able meet with dozens of employers looking for great employees to fill jobs in Rhode Island. Companies as big as Rite Aid, Raytheon, and Amica exhibited alongside great local businesses such as the Groden Network, Picerne Real Estate Group, and Cranston ARC.
This broad range of high-quality, in-state employers illustrated a brighter side of the Rhode Island economy. In fact, the 32 companies on hand represented hundreds of current openings in the state, and the 2008 JobsInRI Career Fair helped them connect with great local candidates. “We were very excited about the level of the candidates that came through today. In fact, 24 out of the 25 exhibitors that answered our feedback surveys stated that they found potential candidates during the career fair,” said Jason Blais, Field Operations Manager for JobsInTheUS.com and JobsInRI.com. Obviously, the employers were impressed as well. According to Michael Coates, of Clean Water Action, “The turnout at this fair was very impressive. Your organization obviously took a lot of care in advertising this event.”
This Career Fair reinforced JobsInRI.com’s status as the #1 local employment resource in Rhode Island. Currently, there are more in-state, Rhode Island career opportunities posted with JobsInRI.com than anywhere else. In addition to providing the leading resource to find jobs, JobsInRI.com also provides the best value to employers. In September alone, the website, www.JobsInRI.com, received more than 1,000,000 page views.
WERE YOU ABLE TO ATTEND THIS EVENT? DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS EVENT OR CAREER FAIRS IN GENERAL? PLEASE SHARE YOUR COMMENTS WITH US!