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Booming! – what 2021 was like for the job board and recruitment marketing industry

And we thought 2020 was weird! 2021 proved to be a return to form for many job boards – and then some. With employers clamoring for candidates, but candidates still thinking hard about whether they wanted to actually return to their old jobs, the demand for hiring platforms grew dramatically. Let’s take a look back at the year that was:

  • JanuaryJobAndTalent led off the year by raising $108M. CareerGig decided to acquire Moonlighting. Speaking of acquisitions, long-time financial site OneWire was purchased by Recruiter.com (marking the beginning of a busy year for Recruiter). This was also the month that Jeff Berger of Talent Inc. said goodbye to the industry, going off to the proverbial ‘next chapter’. Adios!
  • FebruaryBayard Advertising, a century-old ad company, was acquired by Shamrock Capital. Creative talent site Working Not Working was bought by Fiverr, the gig monster site. Monster actually saw a slight increase in revenue (!), but DHI (Dice) suffered a drop in fourth quarter revenue. Even more striking was the news from the AIM Group that Craigslist revenue fell by 25% in 2020. Ouch! Recruiter.com jumped back into the news with the acquisition of Scouted.io and a plan to reach $40M. Rounding out the month, Job.com surprised everyone by acquiring Talenting.
  • MarchUpwork revenue rose 32% amid more forecasts of growth during the year. Denmark’s JobIndex saw the highest revenue in Q4 2020 of its entire 25-year history. Indeed launches a new ATS they call the Indeed Hiring Platform. New Work’s (Xing) revenue crept up by 2% for 2020, but it also managed to grow its membership by almost 2 million. Recruitics bought job board software vendor Reverse Delta. And not surprisingly, Fiverr announced an increase in revenue of 89% for the fourth quarter.
  • AprilFrance’s HelloWork (RegionsJob) acquired Seekube, a platform for virtual recruitment forums. iHire acquired WorkInSports, thus expanding its network of sites. ZipRecruiter began offering job seekers a ‘job match score’. Not to be outdone, Dice added self-assessment tools for its candidates. Rigzone was awarded $3M after the court agreed that David Kent, the former owner, stole trade secrets. Vettery was absorbed into Hired – both firms being part of Addeco. BioSpace acquired MedReps, and Japanese freelance site Coconala saw a 61% YOY growth in revenue.
  • MayZipRecruiter talked about doing an IPO, as did Talent.com and Brazilian site GetNinjas. Something in the air? Randstad’s revenue went up 6%, while Alma Career’s revenue went down 12%. On the acquisition side, Jobcase bought Upward.net. Upwork’s revenue went up (again), while DHI’s revenue went down (again).
  • JuneThe big news this month was industry outside Prosus’s acquisition of tech site StackOverflow for $1.8 billion. College-aimed Handshake managed to raise $80M, while tech-focused Malt raised $97M. Recruit reported that Indeed and Glassdoor saw a drop in revenue during 2020. (It wouldn’t last). Paris-based Freelance.com saw a 45% YOY increase in revenue. Chinese site Boss Zhipin planned to raise up to $912M.
  • July: Eightfold AI manages to raise $220M, putting its total haul at $410M. 51Job said it was going private, putting the deal for the Chinese site at $5.7B. Tech site Beamery raised $138M on news of YOY growth of 337%. Talent Inc. acquired Dutch company Imkey Holding B.V. Labor market analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies merged with fellow labor market analytics provider Emsi. Pole-Emploi.fr, the state-owned job board in France, found personal data of its 120,000 users leaked due to ‘human actions’. Oops!
  • AugustProgrammatic provider PandoLogic was acquired by Veritone for approximately $150M. DHI relinquished majority ownership of eFinancial Careers to the site’s management team. Physician site Doximity went public and promptly posted a market cap of $10B. Industry pioneer LatPro was sold to Circa. Recruiter.com acquired MediaBistro and Finalist.  Harris, another industry outsider, bought Canadian aggregator Jobillico. Not to be outdone, Job.com acquired staffing firms Fortus Healthcare Resources and Endevis. In a Glassdoor-ish move, ZipRecruiter added employer reviews. Down under, Australian giant Seek planned to transfer $896M of its resources into the Seek Growth Fund.
  • SeptemberDiversity hiring platform Canvas closed a $50 million Series C round, giving the company a valuation of $400 million. Polish industry pioneer Grupa Pracuj filed to go public. Recruiter.com launched a new AI-powered hiring product called Amplify. Indian blue-collar recruiting platform Vahan raised $8M. In a sign of the times, job boards for sharing open roles at companies that do not require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 began popping up online. Programmatic provider Talroo began offering cost per application (CPA) options to its customers. Industry giant Indeed said it would move to CPA in a big way in 2022. Text-based recruiting platform Workstream managed to raise $48M.
  • OctoberFivrr kicked off the month by acquiring learning company CreativeLive. Hourly-focused Snagajob decided to sell its ATS to Fourth Enterprises. Byteboard, a service designed to replace the pre-onsite technical interview part of a company’s hiring process with a web-based alternative, spun out of Google. CareerBuilder got a new logo, and Tim Sackett was not impressed. The Mom Project landed $80M in funding. Both Randstad and Alma Media increased revenue.
  • NovemberZipRecruiter posted another quarter of 2x year-on-year revenue growth.  DHI Group reported third-quarter revenue rose 13.3% year over year (first time in a while). LinkedIn rolled out its Service Marketplace for freelancers, and also posted 42% YOY increases in revenue. Germany’s Stepstone planned its own IPO. Once again, Upwork’s revenue was up, 32.4% YOY for the quarter. French site Freelancer.com  saw its revenue rise 60% for the first half of the year. Fiverr acquired Stoke Talent for about $95M. Recruit’s Indeed and Glassdoor saw a 100% YOY increase in quarterly revenue. Not to be outdone, Boss Zhipin saw revenue go up by 105%.

Impressive, eh? Now I’m wonder who will get money, who will get acquired, and who will expand in 2020. Aren’t you?

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