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A year we won’t forget: 2020 and the recruitment marketing industry

2020 and the recruitment marketing industryAdmit it – it’s kind of a relief to draw the curtains on 2020, isn’t it? Sure, some things happened that were good – but it seemed like more happened that was not so good. A deadly pandemic, worldwide recession, and the disappearance of human-to-human contact – it was a challenge! I personally am glad to see it go – even though as we know the markers of when a year begins and end are entirely arbitrary. Let’s take a look back and see what notable things happened in our industry:

  • JanuaryNeuvoo decided to rebrand itself as Uber launched its Uber Works industrial staffing app in Miami. The move comes after the formal announcement of Uber Works in Chicago, the first city with the service. Not sure where this is now. MeetFrank, the new-age global recruitment platform, raised €1.5 million. Jumpstart raised $8.5 million. In other words, a fairly normal start to the year.
  • FebruarySelectLeaders was acquired by BISNOW Media. Japanese recruitment firm En-Japan Inc. acquired job site operator Brocante in a share exchange deal worth 600 million yen ($5.5 million U.S.). Dutch recruitment startup Maqqie, Sri Lankan job marketplace XpressJobs, and Codility all raised funding. Finally, Appcast was selected by The Network as its exclusive U.S. partner. No sign of pandemic effects at this point.
  • MarchAllyO automation, announced its 2019 results: a 3.3x increase in Annual Recurring Revenue with more than 97 percent of current customers renewing their contracts and, on average, doubling their spend with the company. A foreshadowing of the sale?  Indeed told more than 1,000 workers in Dublin, Sydney, and Singapore on Monday, February 10th, to work from home because of the coronavirus. German company WorkGenius announced another funding round of €6.4 million, taking its total raised to approximately €18.4 million. Online staffing platform Fiverr reported revenue rose 42.6% in the fourth quarter as the number of active buyers rose along with increased spend per buyer. Online staffing firm Upwork reported fourth-quarter revenue rose 19.2% year over year. Indeed was one of the first to face the virus – but it wouldn’t be the last.
  • April part 1Hired launched Hired Flex, which let recruiters and hiring managers get immediate access to Hired’s marketplace without formal onboarding. Polish media group Agora shut down job board The Mom Project acquired Werk, a people analytics platform. ZipRecruiter slashed nearly 40% of its own staff as the economy buckled in the fallout of the coronavirus crisis. Chinese job site 51Job said its revenue from recruitment decreased 5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019. The virus takes its toll.
  • April part 2SEEK postponed its dividend and allowed customers some payment concessions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed shut down the JobSpotter app. Recruit Rooster, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DirectEmployers, acquired custom software developer, RocketBuild. Polish startup DevSkiller, a tech hiring platform, raised around €1 million in a bridge round from Speed Up Energy Innovation.
  • MayRandstad reported revenue fell 7% year over year on an organic basis in its first quarter ended March 31. Recruitment software company Alvius acquired the UK Startup Jobs platform.  Recruit Holdings delayed announcing its financial results. First-quarter revenue rose 21.5% at Upwork. In Poland, Agora-owned recruitment site saw a revenue drop by 64% in FY2019. DHI Group’s revenue fell 2.9% in the first quarter to $22.5 million. More virus effects.
  • JuneThe German job board powerhouse Stepstone bought Cammio, a video-based employer branding tool. Snagajob released its new platform, On Demand. Recruit announced that revenue rose 1.6% in the company’s fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31. Job aggregator Jooble purchased part of HotWork, a recruitment aggregator working in several post-Communist countries, for an undisclosed sum. Trade Hounds, which sought to be the LinkedIn of the construction industry, closed its $3.2 million seed funding round.
  • JulyA settlement was reached in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Lori McInerney against CareerBuilder, according to a filing on June 30 with the federal court.  The Mom Project announced a $25 million round of funding to expand its business. ITJobCafe launched a new general jobsite, Jobs4All.US. Adevinta Spain acquired Barcelona-based aggregator and job board and its big data tool, Job Market Insights. Teal closed a $5 million seed round.
  • AugustLinkedIn laid off 6% of its employee base as fewer companies used its platform due to the pandemic. Professional Diversity Network Inc. raised $2 million in a stock offering. Randstad nv reported revenue fell 25% year over year on an organic basis in its second quarter ended June 30. Grupa Pracuj increased consolidated sales revenues by 12.3% to PLN 367.5 million and net profit by 35.4% to PLN 91.04 million. LocalJobNetwork announced a rebranding and new go-to-market approach as Circa.
  • September part 1Indeed signed an agreement to acquire the assets of ZapInfo. announced the acquisition of a 100% stake in HireVergence, an IT staffing firm focused in cybersecurity. DHI Group Inc. reported that revenue fell 9.6% in the second quarter. Recruit Holdings Co. Ltd. reported revenue fell by 20.0% in its fiscal first quarter ended June 30 amid Covid-19.
  • September part 2Grupa Pracuj laid off 8% of its workforce in Poland and 30% in Ukraine. landed a $14-million seed funding round led by Foundation Capital. Jobberman Nigeria acquired 100% of 51Job, the China-based recruitment giant, received a $5.3 billion U.S. buyout offer from a group led by DCP Capital Partners.
  • October: CareerBuilder sold its ownership in TextKernel to the Dutch investment firm, Main Capital Partners.  Handshake raised $80 million in a growth round of funding. was listed on the Moscow Exchange. Phenom acquired My Ally. HireVue announced the acquisition of AllyO. Alma Media subsidiary Alma Career will close down recruitment site and thus discontinue its operation in Hungary.
  • NovemberEightfold AI raised a $125M Series D funding round.  Freelancer marketplace Fiverr reported third-quarter revenue rose 87.8%.   Recruit Holdings reported revenue fell 6.2% in its fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30. Texas based activist short-seller Blue Orca claimed that SEEK’s prized Chinese business was inundated with false and fraudulent postings and that the company was carrying toxic levels of debt. SmartRecruiters acquired jobpal. A group of 135 Internet companies, including job boards, and 30 industry groups sent a letter to EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager raising concerns about Google.
  • DecemberTurings picked up $32 million in a Series B round of funding led by WestBridge Capital.  Indian job board IIMjobs reportedly suffered a database breach exposing personal data of nearly 1.4 million users. ZipRecruiter hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to prepare for an IPO that would launch next year.  Info Edge India Ltd., the parent company of Naukri and 99Acres, continued to experience robust growth in net profit in the second quarter of FY2021 despite a drop in revenue. Profits at the Irish arm of professional social network giant LinkedIn multiplied more than threefold last year.

So there you have it – a year’s worth of buying and selling, growing and shrinking – 2020 and the recruitment marketing industry. I suspect our industry will become even more important in 2021, as the economy absorbs more pandemic effects and opens up as the vaccines spread. Let’s all think positive thoughts!

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