Navigating The New Zealand Job Board Industry

half-page ad copy Growth of Job Boards: Serving a 2.4 million strong workforce, the NZ job board sector is comparatively smaller in size, but nonetheless as vibrant and colourful as its Australian counterpart. We monitored 89 online destinations which qualified as being a job board. The actual number is likely to be much higher.

Since the mid nineties, adoption and growth of job boards has been driven largely by disruptions to employment. The liberalisation of the labour market and changing work mores have contributed to increasing casualisation of work. Only 77% are in full time roles, and the national turnover rate is 17.9%. NZ citizens are also highly mobile; the diaspora is estimated to be 800,000 strong. In 2009 47,782 made their way to Australia to work. Meanwhile, 80% of the population use the Internet and adoption of new technology is widespread; Comscore declares 81.2% of the populace to be socially connected. The vagary of economic fluctuations added to the turmoil. Job boards emerged as the main beneficiaries of the increasing disruption to workplaces and employment in NZ…and the trend promises to continue.

Competitive landscape: Equipped with deep pockets, large market reach and high brand visibility, the big boards are a permanent fixture of the employment landscape. Three players – Trade Me Jobs, SEEK and Herald Jobs – dominate the market. There aren’t many viable alternatives. While many niche players exist (approximately 80% of the industry), the idea that they must offer compelling and different value is often missing. Aggregators are out in force, but are still a long way from providing any real competition. Instead, pseudo-job boards run by recruitment firms have a strong presence. By all measures, it is difficult to carve out a successful alternative when the big players can reach most of the workforce. The competitive dynamic is unlikely to change dramatically. However, given the geography of the country, regional offerings remain rich with potential.

Print media is still a major force, boasting revenue of $623 million (share of employment classifieds is unknown). Our estimate is that print thumps online operations by a 3:1 ratio in revenue. It appears job seekers themselves still use print. According to Nielsen’s, 50% say they would consider newspapers when looking for a job. However, usage of job boards is universal; SEEK’s data puts it at 87% of the job seeking workforce. Endorsement by recruiters is also widespread; 96% of Australian and NZ recruiter use job boards. This bond is likely to continue. Online job ads triumph over print by a 3:1 margin (see chart). Similar to that being played out in other market economies, job boards in NZ have benefitted from the shift of advertising from print to online channels. They continue to be bullish that future revenue will come from the print sector.

Chart: Print Ads vs. Online Ads


The Road Ahead: There are still many unknowns for the job board sector. How employers use job boards is largely unknown (as far as we can tell). Lately, conversation has been shifting to social media and its application in sourcing talent or looking for a job. A lot of discussion hovers around having an integrated approach to sourcing. If anything, alternative sourcing channels, especially social media, have highlighted the exact capabilities of job boards. There is a clearer understanding of job boards’ place and what they offer. For now, the idea that they should retain a prominent place in the sourcing toolbox is strong.

We invited a number of commentators to tackle the issues facing job boards. NZ contributors include the following:

  • Keith Muirhead, Head of Jobs, Trade Me Jobs, muses over the search for the perfect advertising mix.
  • Kate Billing, Director, Blacksmiths, believes managing employer brand on all touch points is key.
  • Richard Westney, Senior HR Manager, KPMG, offers insights on how HR is approaching sourcing in a changing world.
  • Trish Maclean, Director, Retailworld, believes an integrated approach to sourcing is the most effective.
  • Brad Stewart, founder realchangejobs, offers the niche perspective to sourcing.

I am deeply indebted to our contributors, and I hope further discussions will flow. Take a look at our free report and let me know your thoughts.

(Please note: Many of the Australian contributors are included in the NZ report as their messages are universal. More to be revealed in the Australian report)

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