• New study shows impact of pandemic on recruitment businesses
  • Majority of responding job sites saw revenue decline in 2020
  • But September / October offers respite as revenue rebounds

Revenue at recruitment sites has dropped significantly in 2020 — no shock there — but there’s cause for optimism based on significant revenue growth during September and October, the “Global Recruiting Site Trends Survey” reports.

Revenue increased 20% or more during the previous 30 days among one-quarter of the job sites responding, while it was up 1% to 19% at another 38% of the sites surveyed. The survey was conducted during September and October by Jeff Dickey-Chasins, the “Job Board Doctor,” with help from the AIM Group. The free report is available here.

One-fifth of respondents saw 50% revenue drop

“Unsurprisingly, the economic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has been primarily negative: 59% of respondents have seen revenue decrease in 2020, compared to the same period in 2019,” Dickey-Chasins wrote in the report summary. “Eighteen percent … have seen revenue drop 50% or more.”

But “in the past 30 days, 63% of respondents have seen their revenue increase.”

The survey has been conducted since 2010; this year, 138 recruitment advertising companies worldwide responded.

More than 70% of respondents said the ongoing effects of the pandemic are a significant threat to their business during the next two years, with almost 70% citing “economic slowdown” and more than 60% saying a slow rate of hiring is also a threat. Duration-based pricing of job listings remains the primary revenue stream for more than two-thirds (68%) of the respondents, while cost-per-action — cost-per hire / application / click — are the No. 1 revenue stream for 13% of respondents.

More than half of the companies said they maintained their regular pricing and sales activity during the pandemic, while 53% said they offered free products or reduced prices, or let their sales staffs make special “one-time deals.” One-quarter said they cut staff permanently and another 18% said they cut staff temporarily, but 12% said they added staff permanently and 4% said they added staff temporarily. One recruitment site participating in the survey said it closed permanently. (The report did not name respondents or the companies quoted.)

Some companies have grown, too

Growth was possible despite the pandemic: 14% of respondents said they either expanded their businesses or acquired others. But many said they imposed hiring freezes, cut marketing expenses, reduced staff hours or salaries, and took other cost- saving measures.

One company said it renegotiated its lease, moved to 100% virtual operations and switched to permanent part-time employees from full-time employees.

Participants said more changes are inevitable in the field.

“Smaller players will close. Larger ones will be challenged to deliver on client expectations consistently,” one wrote. “Customers will expect more for less as marketing budgets decrease. Amazon and similar warehouse / gig roles will continue to dominate the space.”

“High turnover and layoffs will impact [recruitment advertising] firms who do not have deep contacts with their customers and prospects,” another said.

As hiring resumes, recruitment sites will have to change, too.

“[A] significant decrease in the number of talent acquisition employees, including recruiters, will likely lead to faster and greater adoption of automation by employers and their vendors … .” one noted.

“It will be more important than ever to be able to automate the posting of jobs and delivery of candidates.”

Indeed, many view the potential impact on technology as one of the major positives. As companies search out more cost-effective means of reaching candidates, they are likely to turn to more innovative approaches.

Respondents point out their pivot to “superior technology” and the expectation that “new tech is coming that will help us grow.”

For example, programmatic is expected to see strong adoption across the recruitment spectrum, while various AI-based tools focused on remote candidate analysis are making rapid headway.

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