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    2001 Key Events part 1

    (December 27, 2001) December is the time for recaps, forecasts and summaries. Over the next weeks, you'll be seeing lots of them. We looked back over the last year to try to understand the pivotal events shaping our industry's future. Depending on your perspective (Vendor, Recruiter, HR Executive, Investor), the relative meaning of events is somewhat different. For that reason, we present the following list as an unranked look at some of the key events that shaped our industry during 2001. It's part One of a two part offering (seconds, tomorrow), this is the summary level material from the 2002 Electronic Recruiting Index. In the ERI, a total of fifty key Events (acquisitions, product offerings, management changes and trends) will be identified to illuminate the marketplace trends driving our business forward. Today's list covers six, tomorrow's will describe eight more.
    • TMP's incredible acquisition plays during the year. For the first time ever, the Federal Trade Commission took an interest in our industry. TMP's consistently aggressive acquisition strategy, rooted in a stock value that is still nearly 40 times revenues, included a soon to close purchase of HotJobs. On one level, the company has effectively consolidated all of the old market (Search Firms, Job Boards and Ad Agencies). On another, it has simply cleared the decks for the logical new entrants. TMP's continued success will be increasingly dependent on word of mouth quality stories and the development of additional revenue streams.

    • Customer focus shift to financial fundamentals and ability to execute. Following the untimely death of ISearch, which left hundreds of customers without an Applicant Tracking System, vendors began including financial data in their sales pitch. Clearly, the largest single beneficiary of the renewed emphasis on business fundamentals was BrassRingSystems because of their deep pockets parentage (The Washington Post). The next couple of years will include increasing focus on management quality and fiscal wherewithal. In market development terms, this trend is evidence of a "chasm-crossing" in the web based ATS market. The next step will include an emphasis on measured quality that will again rearrange the market.

    • The aggressive move by Peoplesoft into the market. The Recruiting end of Peoplesoft's business was traditionally executed by Restrac (Webhire) or Resumix in arrangements brokered by large consulting firms. Realizing the incredible revenue to be acquired through Recruiting oriented transactions, the Peoplesoft Team unveiled their Recruiter's desktop in July. Simply rearranging the existing relationships so that Webhire clients are converted to full Peoplesoft accounts makes the move the "come from nowhere into prominence" success story of the year. Peoplesoft is positioned to become a major industry influence without marketing beyond their installed base. 

    • Salary.com's release of the Personal Salary Report. Imagine a world in which salary negotiations include employees who are armed with real market data presented in a clear and intelligible form. Likely to be the most influential new product of 2002, Salary.com's $30 offering will permanently rearrange the dynamics between employer and employee. Ultimately, this product will be seen as a critical step in bring real-world market forces into the workforce (which has been traditionally shielded from real market pressures.) As the labor shortage expands during 2002 and 2003, we imagine that the compensation analysis market will explode in order to meet the requirement for desktop access for hiring managers. This, in turn, will open the gateway for other products that meet hiring manager's needs. Salary.com's Personal Salary report is the first real evidence that the decentralization of HR functions is a reality. 

    • The dramatic expansion of regional job board offerings. The "recession" has diverted attention from a number of counter-indicators. The unemployment rate is already beginning its decline. Total layoffs amounted to only 0.3% of the workforce. And, very importantly, regional job boards exploded on the scene this year. The number of micro job boards expanded from 3,500 to nearly 10,000 with no sign of slowing growth during 2002.

    • The introduction of HodesIQ. After years of growing by simply picking up disaffected customers from the TMP acquisition spree, Hodes set about catching up with the market defining RecruitUSA. Led by Jeremy Shapiro, who is one of the smartest folks in our industry, HodesIQ is an elegant product that makes great strides in the automation of online recruiting. Finally, an ad agency is playing as if the web were a reality. HodesIQ sets the standard for simplicity and effectiveness in online media planning, execution and results management.


    - John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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