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Snagajob layoffs: is it about the economy – or the company?

SnagajobSnagajob, the Richmond, Virginia-based job board for hourly workers, laid off about 40 employees in the past week. According to CEO Mathieu Stevenson, “We recently had to make difficult decisions that impacted approximately 40 individuals in Richmond in response to recent changes in market conditions and the uncertain economic outlook.”

This isn’t the first time the company has experienced layoffs. Back in 2018, the company laid off about 60 employees in two rounds of cuts, not long after a $100M funding raise. Changes at the top occurred as well, with CEO Peter Harrison leaving in 2018, following a short detour for the company as ‘Snag’ and lowered revenue numbers. Fabio Rosati followed him, and then Stevenson followed in 2019.

So what gives? We’re in an economy that still has more jobs than people, providing the job board industry with plenty of demand for its core product – provide candidates to employers. The majority of job boards are doing very well. Is Snagajob’s woes about the hourly labor market, a changing economic environment – or the company itself?

Hmm. Let’s take a look at each of these. The market for hourly workers continues to be extremely competitive – aftereffects of COVID, which put many of these workers out of work, has made some ready to move on from hourly jobs. And although there’s been wage growth, hourly work is rarely a road to riches – even jobs that pay $20 per hour or more can amount to poverty-level earnings for many parts of the U.S. Finally, a tradition source for some hourly workers, teenagers, has withered as high schoolers opt for internships, remote jobs, and (yes) even TikTok stardom.

Maybe Snagajob is a site without enough candidates? Could be.

Or is it a changing economic environment? Are recession fears causing employers that hire hourly workers to cut their payrolls? Unemployment is at a record low – but the press seems to be full of recession worrying. As one article notes, “the four-week average number of Americans signing up for unemployment benefits a proxy for layoffs that smooths out week-to-week swings rose last week to the highest level since November”. Economists can’t make up their minds – can you have a recession with record low unemployment and rising wages, or are we moving into something different?

Is Snagajob is just a site that is pushing jobs that just aren’t attractive enough for the current workforce? Maybe.

Or is it Snagajob itself? The job board was founded in 2000, and has gone through many changes over the years. For the first 13 years, the company was led by Shawn Boyer, and grew to approximately 300 employees in 2011. After Peter Harrison’s ascension in 2013, the site added mobile apps, acquired PeopleMatter, changed their name, and began focusing on shift work. But as mentioned above, there was rapid turnover at the top as well as both funding rounds and layoffs. After Stevenson became CEO, PeopleMatter was sold. Oh, and they launched OnDemand, a ‘push-button’ hiring service. Along the way, many industry analysts wondered: is Snagajob evolving – or flailing? Or maybe….both?

Maybe Snagajob is a legacy site that hasn’t come to terms with its legacy? Perhaps.

My diagnosis as a JobBoardDoctor and someone with zero inside track on what is going on with the company: it’s a little bit of all three. Snagajob has had a dizzying array of changes in direction, branding, product, and leadership since Shawn Boyer left. It’s also focused on a niche that is not so attractive for many candidates. And the long-term trends may force hourly employers to make some big changes if they want to survive – changes that will inevitably affect one of the oldest job boards focused on hourly workers.

Honestly – I’m glad it’s not my problem to solve!

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