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Careers: Job Listings – A Sign of the Times

The exodus of job listings from print to online highlights an inexorable trend that bodes well for job seekers and employers but is moving newspapers to the endangered species list. Searching for jobs, rather than browsing them, is the way of things in 2007. Within a few years, however, job seekers will mostly become the hunted rather than the hunters.

The exodus of job listings from print to online highlights an inexorable trend that bodes well for job seekers and employers but is moving newspapers to the endangered species list. Searching for jobs, rather than browsing them, is the way of things in 2007.

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Within a few years, however, job seekers will mostly become the hunted rather than the hunters.

If you need any proof of the effectiveness of online job listings, check the latest stats by the Conference Board, which tracks both online and print job advertisements. Nationally, the “4,280,400 unduplicated online advertised vacancies in June include 2,744,900 new ads that did not appear in May,” said the Conference Board report, released Monday.

On a year over year basis (June’06 – June’07) total online ads rose 24 percent and new ads climbed 19 percent, respectively, according to the report. Print is not keeping pace, but it is not decreasing every month, according to Conference Board data released last week.

“Online job demand has been virtually unchanged over the last few months but continues to show a better than 20% gain over last year,” says Gad Levanon, Economist at the Conference Board. “Tight labor markets in many areas of the country and in specific occupations and industries like IT and healthcare are forcing companies to advertise more aggressively than last year in order to find the employees they need.”

In my view here are the real reasons why job listings are moving to online and they’re never going back to print:

  • Geography. Employers want to conduct a broader search – not geographically limited to the distribution of a metro newspaper. This works both ways of course. Job seekers can check out jobs beyond their immediate region, even around the globe. The job boards aren’t perfect, and they’re not always efficient, but they beat print
  • Computer skills. Would you want to hire someone who lacks the computer savvy to scan or search a job board or e-mail a résumé?
  • Specialized interests. There are more than 1,200 job boards and the vast majority of them appeal to niche interests, such as skill sets, income levels and experience
  • Convenience. Sure, you can carry around a newspaper or search the web, but these days job listings are pushed to mobile phones or laptops via e-mail or Really Simply Syndication (RSS).

The Conference Board tracks some interesting job market data. At the moment, one out of six jobs posted online nationally are in the Golden State. The cities with the highest ratio of job ads to residents are San Jose at seven listings per each 100 people and on the northern end of Silicon Valley, San Francisco, with 6.86 listings per each 100 people.

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Two of the hardest states to find a job are Mississippi and Michigan, which have “significantly” more job seekers than vacancies, according to the study.

Still, the job market might be cooling off a bit outside of the high-tech and healthcare sectors. “The labor market is slow and might even slow a little further this summer,” predicts Ken Goldstein, labor economist at the Conference Board. “While the Leading Economic Indicators are pointing to sustained but slow growth in business activity, the latest readings on want-ad volume suggest that job gains (hovering close to about 120,000 per month) could edge a little lower, perhaps opening up only 100,000 new jobs a month.”

Jobs are cyclical, and at the moment there’s ample evidence that many businesses are talent-constrained. Consider that in June, employers posted 396,000 management jobs, according to the Conference Board. Let us know how your job search is going.

Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca • rusty@myglobalcareer.com • http://www.myglobalcareer.com/

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