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(April 11, 2007) There's going to be a hole where there used to
be an America's Job Bank (AJB). In a move that we heartily support (having
wondered often in this column why the government is competing with industry in
classified advertising), the US Congress is letting go of its support of the
government jobs site as of July 1, 2007. Currently, the original vendor (Navisite)
and Direct Employers are both offering "alternatives". We'll try to make sense
of the story and point out a couple of key questions.
Here are some baseline references:
announced that the Company will continue
to operate the
Job Bank (AJB). NaviSite will
continue to offer services to its
clients, constituents, employers and job
seekers without any interruption in
service and at no charge when the
funding for the AJB program ends in July
The company has a new address at
retains the look of the current AJB
Search Engine Guide)
- Here's the
the America's Job Exchange Website.
Job Central's FAQ on the Issue (A good deal more informative on
- Direct Employers announcement of
If you quickly scan
article on the subject, you'll see that
Navisite and Direct Employers / Job Central are positioning themselves as
successor systems. Unfortunately, all of the smoke conceals the fact that there
are major assets at stake in this transition. None of the competitors are
talking about them.
- Any system that proposes to "replace" AJB
will need its traffic. AJB.org has over 1,000 inbound links which account
for its traffic. The domain name is a major asset and its disposition will
make the difference in the transition.
- The history of traffic records, response
performance and behavior on the AJB site are significant assets that merit a
public disclosure. How the two competing services plan to compete without
this data is a question that should be asked.
- It's reasonable to assume that AJB contains
other assets that should be made available to the taxpayers who funded them.
Traffic and job seekers are the paramount
deliverables of any job board system. It's really interesting that no one seems
to be asking how the two competitors intend to supply traffic, in what volumes
and to what demographic criteria. Organizations and technology are lovely,
lovely things. The question is "how do these new players plan to deliver real
On a separate front, we wonder why small
employers should feel comfortable about large organizations banding together to
manage a national labor exchange. The local markets are in particularly tight
positions, especially in the areas served by AJB and the One Stop services. It
seems like putting large employers in charge of this endeavor is like putting
the fox in charge of the henhouse.
The real problem, however, is that both Navistar
and Direct Employers are offering safe harbor where there is none. Noticeable in
its absence is any assurance that either system offers OFCCP compliance in the
way that America's Job Board did. The OFCCP and the DOL issued a ruling that
posting to AJB met the compliance requirements for OFCCP advertising. Neither of
the proposed systems meet this hurdle. This was the sole reason that major
corporations used the job bank.
AJB was always the most aggravating job board to
use. No corporation has ever reported broad success from its use. However, every
government contractor was required to use it. The new entrants don't have that
The real question here is whether the government
will meet its current responsibility to make compliance with OFCCP regulations
possible. The posturing for commercial opportunity seems counter-productive.
We'd like to know exactly how companies are going to be able to be compliant
after AJB shuts down. In an ideal world, OFCCP would make compliance possible by
simply publishing an opening on the company website. The business of
manipulating the market creates the opportunistic behavior we're witnessing.
John Sumser - © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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