Several European recruitment verticals have joined together to complain to the European Union’s competition commissioner about anti-competitive behaviour.
Reuters reports that 23 job search websites have signed a letter to the commissioner Margrethe Vestager, which will be sent today. The petition asks the EU to stop Google for Jobs from operating while the situation is investigated.
The recruitment verticals claim that anti-competitive behaviour has seen them lose users and profits. They said including generic links to competing services on its European jobs widget was not enough to ensure “equal treatment.” Global recruitment leader Indeed — who didn’t format its website to be part of Google’s tool — is not one of the signatories.
Companies who have signed the letter include British site Best Jobs Online and German websites Intermedia and JobIndex. Reuters reports that Berlin-based StepStone GmbH — which operates 30 job websites globally — has submitted a formal complaint against Google.
Like other leading recruitment websites, Google’s job tool links to jobs advertised by many employers. This allows candidates to filter, save and receive job alerts about new positions. Candidates then apply separately.
Google’s job app includes a prominent widget at the top of search results for certain, common job search terms. The complainants claim this is in breach of competition laws because Google is using its dominance to bring users to specialized search terms, bypassing the traditional marketing costs and processes that competitors have to follow.
Google is expected to sell adverts in its jobs app, which will generate billions of dollars of revenue. This will also reduce the ability of other search engines to fill Google’s results.
Google said that its app addresses previous antitrust complains by allowing rival search engines to be involved and, in Europe, includes a feature that gives rivals prominence. Only jobs from websites that follow its posting guidelines are accepted, however. Many leading recruitment sites have conformed. They include job sites owned by Axel Springer who is concerned that handing over data could lead to Google bypassing them entirely.
“Any provider — from individual employers to job listing platforms — can utilize this feature in search, and many of them have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive,” senior product manager for Google search Nick Zakrasek said in a statement.
The complaint comes as European anti-trust regulators are working out how to regulate global technology giants. Google provides online publishers with search traffic, so there are some benefits for recruitment sites.
“By improving the search experience for jobs, we’re able to deliver more traffic to sites across the web and support a healthy job search ecosystem,” Zakrasek said.
Google has been able to fend off other regulatory demands in other online sectors — like business and travel search — over the last decade or so.