The Online Job Market

It would be hard to deny that the internet has forever changed how we live our lives, how we do business, and not surprisingly how we look for jobs and recruit staff. A recent global report showed that 26% of job seekers found their latest job through online job sites*. Interestingly, another 22% of jobs were found based on word of mouth, 17% through recruitment agencies, 17% from a direct approach by an employer, 10% by other methods, and only 7% through print media. At the lowest level were social media sites, with a mere 1%. However, roughly a quarter of people across the globe reported using social networking sites to look for work, so surely the number of people finding their jobs through these sites is bound to increase.

The fact that almost a quarter of job seekers are still finding their positions through word of mouth indicates to me that online tools have by no means taken over the job market yet. In fact, with almost 40% of jobs being found through networking and direct approaches, the importance of networking and face to face contact is clearly apparent. However, surely the role that the internet plays in this networking will only continue to increase with time, and thus online job sites and social media will start to play a bigger role in recruitment. So, what does this mean for individuals and organisations?

Online job sites offer individuals the ability to passively keep an eye on the job market without committing to the selection process. It also allows them to keep an eye on companies or individuals they would like to work with in case vacancies do come up. For organisations, the internet must lead to a wider talent pool than would have traditionally been available. It also means that organisations can keep an eye on potential employees. So, are there any disadvantages to the use of online job sites and social media in the job market?

Honestly I’m struggling to think of any. I can certainly see that for individuals the internet probably makes it harder to pick and chose what potential employers can find out about you.  From an employer’s perspective, the ease of use of such sites could potentially lead to a significant increase in the number of poor or non-relevant job applications. Also, organisations will need to think about how they can respond to this shift, and whether they need to get their own processes up to date. But mostly I would say that the benefits would far outweigh the disadvantages. What are your thoughts?

*2011 Kelly Global Workforce Index

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