Niche and Local Job Sites Making Headway

The hubbub in online recruitment advertising has revolved around recent relationships between Yahoo HotJobs and a handful of newspaper publishers. However it’s smaller career-specific sites, as well as regional and community-based sites, that are poised for growth according to Borrell and Associates, a local media research firm.

“The recruitment market has moved from mass to niche,” according to the researcher’s new “2007 Outlook: Online Recruitment Advertising” report, which points to “a proliferation of specialized job sites,” catering to professions like ER nursing and truck driving as contributors to growth in the online job ad industry.

Smaller sites each accounting for less than 3 percent of market share in aggregate generate 66 percent of the$ 5.9 billion in online job revenue, according to the report. In comparison, Monster makes up 14 percent and CareerBuilder accounts for 12 percent. Newspapers not affiliated with those two classifieds distributors comprise 8 percent of online recruitment ad revenues.

“Before someone goes to a large aggregator, if you’re a professional, you’re going to look at your trade job board first,” said Borrell Associates VP Pete Conti.

“You have people who don’t have a lot of time to spend surfing the Web,” said Scott Roulet, VP business development of Cygnus Business Media, publisher of 50 sites covering 15 vertical markets such as agriculture, food, and law enforcement. Niche sites allow busy job seekers to more efficiently find potential gigs that suit their particular career paths than generalized job sites, he added.

Recognizing the value of its career-specific job board main pages, Cygnus plans to begin selling display advertising in those sections early next year. The firm has run vertical-specific CareerBuilder listings for about a year, according to Roulet, who said the technology sector probably attracts the most job ad attention. Still, he added, “We’re seeing it with verticals that [in the past] may not have been Internet savvy.”

Location-based job listings sites and recruitment ads on local paper sites are also expected to increase in revenue share, the report says. While Borrell predicts large metro daily papers will lose 20 percent in annual job ad revenue by 2011, the firm believes suburban and community papers will gain 25 percent by that time. By 2011, online spending is set to jump by 64 percent, which bodes well for local newspaper Web sites.

“Big job boards are focused on markets, DMAs,” said Borrell’s Conti, who said job searches on national sites don’t allow users to narrow searches beyond the city level, which could be too broad.

Generalized job recruitment sites “have this big Achilles heel which is the employer gets too many irrelevant responses [from job seekers],” said Eric P. Straus, president of RegionalHelpWanted.com, publisher of 320 local job sites such as PeoriaHelpWanted.com and AnchorageHelpWanted.com. Because nationally-known sites like Monster and HotJobs attract people from across the country and beyond, employers sometimes end up receiving several resumes from people well beyond their targeted geographic area. “That’s fine if you’ve got a fulltime HR staff,” said Straus, noting local employers have little time or resources to deal with an onslaught of inappropriate responses.

RegionalHelpWanted.com has established a presence in its local site regions through relationships with in-market radio stations that run ads for the sites in exchange for a cut of job ad revenue. Though the firm focuses on small advertisers, it does sell job ads to national employers including McDonalds and Red Lobster.

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