slide image

By Stephen O’Donnell, CGO TAtech

A weekly column covering the art and science of job boards & online recruitment advertising

In the middle of a conversation with a TAtech Member this week, I was jolted by his matter-of-fact reference to the upcoming recession. People have been talking around this topic for a few months, in relatively vague terms, but I must admit this brought me up short.

Since June this year, the employment market has felt a distinct shift in the pendulum swinging over all of us, and dictating the direction of travel in the coming months. Well, that slow change of direction is now gathering pace, and we can definitely say that the boom of early 2022 has receded, and it’s time to brace the mainsails.

Anyone who experienced employment recessions in the past 3 decades will speak of the market flipping from an excess of available candidates to an excess of open vacancies. This supply and demand function of the market is easy to comprehend, and relatively predictable when it comes around. However, it doesn’t happen overnight, and never in all sectors at the same time. In fact, with the disruption to recruitment supply chains in the past 2 years, predicting which sectors will move first and fastest is almost impossible.

This upcoming dip (let’s not say the R word too much) will also be very different, in that most western economies (certainly the UK, USA, and Canada) are close to full employment. In fact, some sources are reporting that the next 6 months could well be a period of maximum opportunity for TA leaders, technology providers, and job boards. Well-publicised layoffs from GAMA companies (and many similar) “right-sizing”, will feed many second and third tier technology companies hoovering up newly available talent.

What we do know is that recruitment circulation or employees, like blood in a body, is essential to keeping the body healthy. A lack of circulation of employees, or stagnation, invariably contributes to a downward spiral, where fewer new employees are hired, trained, and go on to generate their own value in the workforce.

So, what does this mean for job boards, aggregators, and programmatic advertising platforms? I’d speculate that advertising volumes will remain stable (seasonally adjusted), but that margins will be squeezed, as more juice is being squeezed out of the lemon by more effective technologies. Some job boards who aren’t capable of delivering on pay-for-performance will struggle with this, and brand loyalty to established names will diminish. Programmatic stats do not lie about the source of applications.

If your job board might fall into that latter category, now is the time to get even closer to your advertisers, and offer more value with additional services, to keep them on board. Either way, brace yourselves, as a storm is a’comin’.