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The little guy takes on three industry Goliaths. Is JobFlex the David of the recruitment industry?

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Having been involved in the recruitment industry for the past 15 years, I have been a user and advertiser on Australian job boards for many years. And, I always had a niggling thought that there was a way to do things differently.

Around a year ago I started sketching out rough plans on how I could provide an online platform to engage specific demographics and categories of job seeker. I looked to satisfy two clear criteria:

1. Is there a growing market, thereby in principal a growing demand?
2. Can it be done better than at present?

I found the answer ‘yes’ to both questions, especially in the contract, part time, casual and temporary job market.

How are the ‘Big 3’ squeezing small businesses out?

Australia’s ‘big 3’ job boards that is, Seek, MyCareer (Fairfax) and CareerOne (News/Monster) have long been accused of creating somewhat of an oligopoly situation, which have left some business sectors, namely small business, at a distinct disadvantage when looking to advertise and canvass the best talent in the market.

The ‘big 3’s focus on, and get the bulk of their revenue, from permanent job listings. These are often placed by large corporations or agencies either with pockets deep enough to pay $200+ for a casual ad or the ability to bulk-buy thereby reducing total spend.

With no distinction on pricing with non-permanent ads, the typical single ad advertiser looking to fill a part time/casual/temp job has little choice on price and ad duration. The big players only offer a minimum of 30 days duration. To illustrate $200+ for an ad, for a retailer in Newtown is not anywhere near as palatable as it may be for a corporate in Pitt St!

Due to the prohibitive nature of these ad prices for the smaller business advertiser, these businesses are limited in their ability to reach the same high-quality audience as those larger companies that are able to utilise their purchasing power or, ones where price is not an issue.

How will JobFlex Online change the recruitment industry?

The aim of JobFlex is to build Australia’s largest network/audience of job seekers who are seeking flexibility in their employment options.

At the same time, we seek to connect this network of job seekers to our advertisers at a more cost effective price.

Whilst price is certainly a consideration for the smaller business advertiser, the suburban high street retailer or mid-sized industrial firm, it’s not everything.

Larger companies are also not always driven by price. The trigger for these companies to engage a new recruitment supplier is often defined in terms of the reach and delivery of job applications per ad, coupled with the job board’s usability and functionality.

As JobFlex evolves, we will create a national online information and resource hub for contractors, part time and casual job seekers. To facilitate this, we are currently building formal and informal relationships with a number of other businesses that have a distinct interest in providing services to the same job seeker demographics.

What the business model?

All employer advertising is free at the moment. We will only monetise the business after we have been able to demonstrate reach and delivery of relevant traffic to our early clients. So, the pressure is well and truly on us to ensure this happens.

There is a clear proposition to create a centralised online hub of information for the ‘flexible’ job seeker with the published job postings as the core business.

The three job board Goliaths have neglected the flexible and part-time job market for long enough.

Don Robertson is Managing Director at JobFlex Online.

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