Are job sites dying?Janette Toral
According to a Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) article, data from the World Bank indicate that only 25 percent or 250,000 of the 1.1 million potential entrants to the Philippine labor force each year find jobs.
Online job portals like Jobstreet, JobsDB, BestJobs.ph, WorkAbroad.ph, and Monster play a big role in matching job seekers with employers not only locally, but also with companies abroad that are seeking to hire Filipino employees.
The way we connect and interact with other people forever changed when the use of social networking sites exploded just a few years ago. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the way we do job hunting has not been the same. With this game-changing development, can we say that online job sites are dying?
Monster.com in the Philippines – too late?
Monster has been connecting people to jobs worldwide for more than 20 years now but is a relatively new player in the local scene.
What makes the Philippines unique? Sanjay Modi, Managing Director of Monster.com, in a breakfast meeting last March 17, 2015, shared that the country job market is dominated by the BPO and services sector. This is distinct in comparison to neighboring countries like Singapore (banking) and Malaysia (oil and gas).
Modi also noted that the Philippine government is active in taking steps to collaborate with the industry and prepare its citizens for in-demand jobs. Although he suggests that vocational training importance or appreciation needs to increase and much work has to be done on that.
For 2015, Monster aims to get 1.5 million users base.
In a quick glance at its home page, Monster doesn’t seem to be a lot different from the other job sites. The home page prominently features the job search function and lists some choice employers below. Like other job sites, it’s easy to build one’s online profile at Monster. A job seeker creates an online profile and hopes to land a job by applying to job postings matched for her specific profile and declared preferences.
You see the difference when you’re logged in the job search portal, in your own personal page called “My Monster.” Apart from notifications about job matches, you can see separate boxes below titled “Connections” and “Follow Companies.” Monster is integrating a social component to search similar to LinkedIn, providing a forum for job seekers, recruiters and companies to connect and engage within the site itself.
The professional networking feature was launched last December 2014 that allows people to connect on the same company or position level. It will have additional features aiming to bring in passive or non-users of the site.
Are Job Sites Losing To Social Media In Matching Companies and Job Seekers?
But as more job sites set up shop in the Philippines, Monster and other online job portals seem to be chasing after the same companies, mainly BPOs and large companies based in Metro Manila, and the same fresh graduates and other young job seekers looking to land a job in the country’s capital. Also, most of these jobs are traditional office-based models, so those who do not see themselves as fit to work in an office setting will not be using job portals like Monster to build their career.
If we see the same scenario year in and year out, will online job sites remain relevant with the continued rise of social media and the growing trend towards freelancing?
Recruiting In the Age of Social Media
As the world’s social media capital, the Philippines is seeing social media being used extensively in every aspect of life, including job hunting. Facebook groups for every imaginable niche exist, and job openings are regularly posted in group threads and even cross-posted in personal timelines. Many job posts are filled via this social networking method.
Job sites and the Freelancing Trend
Aside from social media sites, job sites are facing competition from freelance job boards and niche job boards like those specializing in overseas jobs or tech jobs or writing jobs.
Filling the need for a growing trend towards freelancing worldwide, freelance job sites like Elance, Odesk, Freelancer, among others, cater to people looking for work but who do not wish to be bound by a rigid office schedule and workplace, and offer a far greater variety of job postings in terms of type of work and compensation, compared to traditional job sites.
How Can Monster and Other Job sites Stay Relevant?
Modi believes that Monster can remain relevant for as long it does improvements consistent in providing their core value proposition. “That is Monster will work for you. Once you are listed as a job seeker, there are products and technologies that will work for you. Professional networking for jobs, mobile site, job seeker dashboard giving an intelligent recommendation. Giving employer right analysis on its analytics, helping employers in their entire 360-degree strategy, that will be our message for them. While you work, Monster will work for you.”
What do Monster and other established online job sites need to do to remain competitive in the present and future job marketplace?
Online job sites will continue to be used especially by new entrants to the job market. The new graduates or the young ones with little or no job experience tend to cast a wide net when it comes to their job search. They will post their online profile in as many job sites and social networks as they can, hoping to get an idea of “what’s out there,” and wish for the best. Applying in multiple online job sites is more convenient than having to go personally to offices and submit resumes one by one. Likewise for companies, online job sites provide a convenient way to attract a greater number of job seekers.
To remain relevant, changes have to be made to reach a wider clientele.
User experience is critical in an online business model like Monster’s. As a job platform, it should continually find ways to improve its search function for better job matches.
By integrating a social component in its platform, Monster is increasing its trust rating. Transactions are often decided by the trust factor. We usually have business with one whom we already know. Building a strong social connection among its client companies, recruiters and job seekers will help Monster establish a stronger presence in the Philippines.
Aside from this social network component, Monster should find a way to include more freelance and work-from-home job listings in its site. This way, the company will help people in the provinces find quality jobs that not only pay well but also enable them to stay in their hometown and be with their families.
By tweaking its business model to include more jobseekers from the provinces, the company will be participating in nation-building by helping strengthen family ties and improving the lives of people in the countryside.