Seek maintains online job prospects bright

Despite not yet reaching the numbers achieved a few years ago, online job ads are set to soar because of the medium's inherent efficiency, according to those running employment websites.

The head of Seek Communications, the country's largest online job site and a company in which billionaire Kerry Packer has just taken a 25% stake, expects the web to dominate the job advertising market within the decade.

Melbourne-based Paul Bassat says IT jobs have led the way online and and the rest will follow.

"It's inevitable. The efficiencies are such that you can't not move."

Bassat's optimism is in contrast to the facts. The ANZ Internet Job Ads series saw a rise of 8.4% in June to 12,748, its highest level in 10 months but still 22.3% below the peak in June 2001. Australia, however, may point the way to the future. There, online job ads were up for the fourth consecutive month. The Olivier Internet Job Index surveyed 78,134 positions vacant ads on commercial job sites in July. However, this was still down on the highs reached in August 2000, and IT and telecomms jobs are well below levels reached a few years ago.

Bassat says the exit of US-based from both New Zealand and Australia is not surprising given that advertisers and job-seekers gravitate to the largest provider.

Monster Australia's deal with NineMSN has collapsed, leading to the closure of both Australian and New Zealand operations. Around 40 staff have lost their jobs and visitors to the Monster New Zealand website are redirected to the US site. Monster public relations firm August.One would not comment on job losses specific to New Zealand and calls to Monster went unanswered.

Bassat says having a local presence is vitally important to long-term survival. "That's probably one of the places Monster fell down."

Auckland-based Netcheck says an understanding of the local market is vital for both prospective job hunters and advertisers.

"Often the internet is viewed as an impersonal medium, so it is important for a job board to provide an interface to enable face-face or phone interaction," says marketing manager Stephanie Ely.

Ely says she expects more market consolidation.

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