Online Job Marketplaces: Current Trends and Future Growth Scenario

Job Portals in India displayed an exponential growth in the first decade of this millennium. In many ways this coincided with the strong growth of the economy, at least till 2009-10. Naukri, JobsAhead (subsequently bought by Monster to start India operations), TimesJobs and Shine have been at the forefront in making online recruitment the preferred means of hiring.

The last few years have of course seen the emergence of new competition in the form of LinkedIn, which now has above 24 million registered users in India. Alternate channels of hiring such as employee referrals, recruitment consultants, walk-in interviews have also accounted for a bulk of the recruitment.

For the masses, such as those working in field, customer service, back-office, etc. adoption of job portals has been relatively limited. Lower penetration of Internet and the ineffectiveness of Curriculum Vitae as hiring tools for such roles had hitherto accounted for the limited success of job portals in this segment.

Yet, it would be safe to predict that version 2.0 of Jobs Marketplaces is likely to be bigger and even more exciting than what has been witnessed in the last 15 years. In the next 10 years India will welcome the largest number of youth to the workforce globally. The addition to the Indian workforce in the formal sector is likely to be nearly 100 million. Surely therefore, employment marketplaces are poised for a new phase of growth and innovation.

Current Trends

Increased competition for talent at all levels, soaring attrition rates and changing skill requirements for employability are driving innovation in hiring.

Mass recruitment in organizations was earlier addressed through employee referrals, walk-ins and local recruitment agencies. There is an effort to include these job seekers more effectively on online employment marketplaces, as hiring for these segments will continue to see the most action.

Emergence of various niche businesses, offering valued added services, across the HR & recruitment value chain. For instance, skill assessment companies, credentials verification entities and Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO.

Social media and digital media are bringing about the biggest changes in how we communicate. Data analytics and Big Data on the other hand are dramatically changing business intelligence. It is, therefore, only natural that Employment Marketplaces which relate to work (and hence are so central to our lives), are being dramatically altered by social media, digital marketing and data analytics.

Key Challenges

The mass recruitment segment poses a whole set of new challenges. The traditional “classified” approach of online job portals is not optimal for these job seekers. Many of them are not comfortable making a CV and even when they are, employers are much more keen on evaluating job seekers for these roles on soft skills and preferences, which are difficult to obtain from a regular CV. Employers are looking for solutions which help them filter and select “suitable” and “interested” candidates for the interview process.

As the National Employment Survey points out, several of these job seekers are not in a position to signal their presence to employers. Hence a “reach-out” mechanism is needed to find these job seekers and match them against suitable jobs.

Job Seekers in this segment display highly transient characteristics. This is manifested in quick job changes and high attrition rates. This points to a need to track and curate these job seeker profiles as they add skills and change their preferences, over short periods of time.

Today, recruitment in this segment using a job portal could entail downloading 100 profiles to see that only 10 are “suitable” and “interested” leading to recruitment rates in low single digits.

New Opportunities

Therefore exciting opportunities in Employment Marketplaces are likely to be in:

a) Providing scalable solutions in the mass recruitment segment which will see nearly 100 million young people joining the workforce.

b) Integrating value-added services, to better match job seekers and employers in the mass recruitment segment, and perhaps even in the white-collar segment. This would include assessment of skills and pre-screening of candidates for employers based on various factors such as preference of location, salary and their overall intent to join.

Future scenario and growth

An area which is definitely going to witness dizzying growth and increased competition is the relatively under-served mass recruitment segment. To serve this segment however, one cannot employ a high touch recruitment model, as the commercial dynamics and the speed of response expected by employers do not allow such luxuries.

Emergence of scalable solutions for this segment will require pre-screening of profiles on parameters beyond demographics and experience. Preferences (locations, industry, shifts); Skills and Behavioural data of job seekers will be employed to pre-screen candidates for jobs. This would entail extensive use of data analytics. The current trend of using social media and digital marketing to source information of “interested” job seekers will grow even more rapidly.

With the rapid expansion of the vocational training sector (providing opportunities to the job seekers to enhance their skills), matching services can alleviate the larger problem of filtering candidates for mass recruitment. Unless tools and processes which allow for industrialization of this selection and pre-screening are employed, there will be sub-optimal upfront matching of jobs to the most suitable candidate.

Research has shown that finding job seekers is not a problem in this segment. But screening them to find best matches is critical especially as the number of job seekers and job creation in this segment grows at the fastest pace ever.