The year in job boards: 2010 – what we learned

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In 2009, the job board industry (and the rest of the world) was deep in the recession’s trough. It was ugly.

With 2010 essentially in the rear view mirror, I think I can safely say that we’re out of the trough. We’re not at the top. We may not even be that far from the bottom – but a lot of things are looking better:

  1. The largest job sites are doing better: Monster, CareerBuilder, and Dice all posted solid financial results. And I know from private conversations that many niche boards had good sales this year.
  2. More jobs are being posted: The number of jobs on Indeed are up 40% year over year – and given that the site’s postings are drawn from niche job boards and employers, that is a very good sign.
  3. Sales and mergers have resumed: Sure, the big news was Monster swallowing HotJobs – but there was plenty of action further down the food chain. That means that job sites are putting their cash to work.
  4. Job boards are evolving – again: One sure sign of recovery? Job sites introducing new services and technologies. We saw lots of action with social media, mobile, and micro-niche. We’ll see lots more.
  5. Competition is heating up: Let’s face it – competition is good. Solid competitors force you to look hard at your services and figure out how to improve them. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, and others are doing exactly that for the job board industry.
  6. Mobile is here: No ifs, ands, or buts. Mobile is pervasive (91% of the US population has it) and powerful. A significant portion of the job seekers out there prefer it to desktop computers. Job boards ignore it at their peril.
  7. Job hunting is getting cloudy: Per the above, job seekers are moving away from desktop computers and their resident applications – and moving into the cloud. I expect to see some interesting innovation in the job board world with regard to cloud computing.

Stay tuned for my 2011 predictions – after I polish off some more holiday cookies, that is!

PS: Guess what? This is post number 101. I am amazed. I hope you are, too.

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