How popular is online recruitment in the professional sectors?

Professionals seeking employment, particularly in the engineering sector seem to be a good guide to the current online recruitment market, reflecting the interest in niche sites, cleverly targeted advertising campaigns, and social networking. Onrec found out more from key players in the business.

How popular is online recruitment?

Sophie Relf, head of marketing at says: "If you look at the early adopter history of the online recruitment industry; it was favoured by professional male jobseekers (from TGInet and BRMB findings 2005-6), namely those in the IT and in the Engineering sectors. Its popularity and importance amongst engineers has grown, as has the appeal of online recruitment in other sectors such as Retail, Finance and Customer Service."

Felix Wetzel, Marketing Director of Jobsite agrees that candidates in this sector were among the early adopters of online recruitment as they realised the benefits it could have in allowing them to search for jobs quickly and easily. He says "Engineering is now one of the core sectors on Jobsite with almost 450,000 registered candidates. To support the growing numbers of candidates searching for engineering jobs online, Jobsite launched the EngineerBoard in October 2006 which provides over 20,000 specific engineering vacancies including mechanical, telecommunications, electronic & aeronautical. Jobsite's parent company also acquired the UK's leading niche online recruitment network in August 2007 due to its success and experience in the engineering sector." says that every month over 260,000 individual jobseekers visit their technical jobsites, which include, and They say: "Online recruitment is certain to become increasingly popular, as the skills shortage further empower jobseekers to use the powerful resources available on sites like theirs, to browse the opportunities available and find the jobs of their choosing. In August 2007 more than 161,942 candidates had registered their CVs across's technical sites, which was an increased of 104% over the last 12 months, leading to over 37,000 applications in the same month. They say their portfolio of clients include the UK's most active technical recruiters, Alfred McAlpine, Amec, Arup, Atkins, Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Audi, Boeing, BSkyB, Carillion, EDF Energy, E.ON, Jacobs, Highways Agency, Ministry of Defence, Mouchel Parkman, National Grid, National Air Traffic Services (NATS), Parsons Brinckerhoff and Siemens."

"Anyone who is not using the internet to find engineering staff is missing out on a huge pool of applicants" says Shirley Brzeski, MD of Websearch Recruitment. "We have been using this medium to find applicants for Cummins (the largest Diesel Engine company in the world) since 2001 and the internet now accounts for 90% of our clients' placements. Now that niche job boards have firmly established themselves to attract qualified applicants in the IT and Engineering sectors, we strongly recommend that everyone wanting to hire staff includes the online options into their recruitment strategies.

In the last year, we have seen an increase in online applications from professionals for vacancies however, due to the current skills shortage - clients need to move fast to arrange interviews if they don't want to see the best applicants being hired by their competitors. Even rare skills that require headhunting efforts can often be sought using the various online CV databases that exist - I can see the day when all vacancies are filled online; which is a future, we at Websearch will certainly embrace."

What are the benefits?

Sophie Relf says: "Our engineering employers on tell us that the benefits of advertising online are threefold: reduced cost or time to hire, streamlined candidate selection/ application process and consistency of messaging. In highly competitive times all these factors contribute to the success of recruitment campaigns, but increasingly employers are anxious to communicate organisational culture and benefits so that they get a better 'candidate fit'. This reduces churn and helps them secure competitive advantage - best talent for the market rate of pay - which ultimately gives their business an edge."

She continues: "The benefits to jobseekers are about market place too. From one URL they can view all relevant jobs in their sector and skills match. Applying for jobs is quick and easy, candidates are able to manage their applications, cover letters and CV from their jobseeker account. We were reassured by our recent User Profile Survey on to see two employment trends playing through in the findings. For the first time we had less male jobseekers than female jobseekers, and we saw a slight increase in the average age of our users. This shows that appeals to UK jobseekers as it reflects UK employment socio-demographics. We also found that our users favoured the internet over all other forms of jobseeking. In fact the popularity of multiple sector internet recruitment sites as the most important job hunting source had grown from 60% (2005) to a staggering 80% (2007). We are looking forward at, to working with recruiters to drive response from more, better quality online jobseekers as our industry matures."

Felix Wetzel says there are benefits for all industries in using online recruitment but in a sector as specialist and competitive as engineering there are even greater advantages. He says: "As a result of the well documented engineering skills shortage, recruiters want to find the best people quickly and get them working for their company rather than a competitor. Online recruitment allows them to post vacancies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year which puts them firmly in control of the hiring process.

Online recruitment also typically allows an organisation access to a greater breath of candidates and enables unprecedented accuracy in finding them for example by location, qualifications, experience etc. Jobsite also ensures that every advertiser gets a dedicated Account Manager so that their recruitment needs are met in the most effective way. Alongside this is the Application Management System, which helps to manage responses and which filters applications so recruiters can send responses automatically to people that fit certain criteria or those who do not.
From a candidate perspective, they are more time poor than ever before and are constantly being targeted by different media. Online recruitment allows them to set up jobs-by-email where relevant jobs for them are sent directly to their inbox, allowing them to decide which to apply for and when. They can also save a CV, which can be made available for recruiters to search or can be simply stored meaning that application to vacancies becomes quicker and easier. Lastly, they can utilise the highly targeted search function on Jobsite which can sort vacancies by location, salary, job title, skills etc. and enables the candidate to find what they're looking for in minutes."

Online recruitment helps recruiters to find relevant jobseekers, and fill their vacancies, before their competitors - vital due to the technical skills shortage.'s award winning innovative technology, Artificial Intelligence Matching (AIM) dramatically improves the speed and accuracy of recruitment by enabling recruiters to quickly and effectively identify and rank relevant candidates."

Jobsgroup says "Because sites are dedicated to specific industry sectors, and can attract relevant candidates throughout the UK, advertisers reach a highly targeted pool of active jobseekers. Jobsites greatly benefit jobseekers by providing access to thousands of vacancies at the time and place of their choosing, from the thousands of vacancies available to search to Jobs-by-Email. Online recruitment also provides jobseekers with access to information that enables them to compare vacancies and research positions. enables candidates to gain free access to the UK's most active recruiters in their chosen industry sector and provide tools to improve their chances, including CV reviews, interview advice and email job alerts."

What are you looking forward to?

At Jobsite they envisage a continued rise in the use of social networking for jobhunting, says Felix Wetzel: "So far this year we have launched a Job Match application on Facebook, partnered with FriendsReunitedJobs and formed an alliance with leading student forum, The Student Room. As candidates find new ways of spending their time online we need to ensure that we can reach them - this is especially true for passive candidates. Also as people increasingly access the internet and emails in different ways, for examples mobiles & PDAs, we have to make sure that jobhunting remains compatible with these methods.

He also envisages there to be further partnerships between generalist and niche sites: "We recognise that there are a group of candidates that prefer to use a niche site as they feel they are getting a more specialised offering, whilst others use generalist sites due to the variety of vacancies and additional services provided e.g. career advice and personality profiling. In terms of the engineering sector, we are confident that this will see significant growth. According to a recent report by the Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) there are currently 20,000 unfilled jobs in this sector, with an extra 2,500 vacancies expected to be added in the next 12 months. This will mean that recruiters will have to work harder to show why employees should work for them. Jobsite is excited about accelerating their growth in the engineering sector by working more closely with the expert team at"

Jobsgroup themselves predict: "There will be a greater move towards candidate centric services. Jobseekers can no longer be expected to visit multiple sites when searching for a job. We must bring the information to them at the time and place of their convenience, building on Jobs-by-Email to develop social networking applications, desktop widgets and job searches hosted on relevant third party sites. Recruiters will require the ability to find relevant jobseekers faster and more accurately than ever before, and whilst technology will play a big part in this the importance of great service cannot be under-estimated and will grow in importance. is ready for the challenge."

Malgorzata Kitowski, Head of The Graduate says: "As you might guess, online recruitment advertising is popular for the engineering and IT industries. It's unsurprising that recruiters offering jobs in technology employ not just people but technology to attract their candidates. As well as the usual websites, there have been some imaginative attraction campaigns using mobile phone text messages, 'Blackberry Blogs' written by company employees, podcasts, and even social networks such as Facebook. I call it the 'Liquid Candidate' generation. Candidates have become liquid and recruiters need to be more inventive to keep up and capture this mercurial pool of potential employees."

As our correspondents have shown, more and more people, including female and older jobseekers are going online for jobs. With the industry constantly developing to meet their increasingly high expectations, engineers would be foolish to look further than their laptops to fulfill their jobhunting needs.