A recent study by Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) reveals that while more UK Internet users are searching for jobs online, the vast proportion of them are only browsing and are not yet fully interacting through the Web.

“Nearly two-thirds (61%) of UK Internet users who work full time and plan to look for a new job in the next six months will use career Web sites as part of their job-hunting,” said William Reeve, Forrester’s group director of European Data Products. “Importantly, for many UK Internet users career Web sites are becoming a favoured means of job-hunting in preference to more traditional methods of search. Overall, 14% use daily newspapers less often and 9% use the trade press less often when looking for job information.”

Significantly, the UK Internet’s growth is broadening the appeal of career-oriented Web sites beyond the Web’s traditional job seekers — IT professionals. People that work in industries such as the public sector and manufacturing and that hold middle or junior management positions now show a higher willingness to use career Web sites to search for jobs than they have done in the recent past.

“But this does not guarantee long-term success for online recruitment firms,” Reeve added. “Our research shows that most visitors to these sites just visit and show little willingness to interact once there. Sixty-nine percent of users of career Web sites currently just browse and only 10% have applied for a job through these sites. For these sites to encourage more interactivity from users, they must better understand and react to their candidates’ needs. Three fundamental criteria appeal to the candidate when hunting for jobs online: locality; industry specialisation; and personalisation. The addition of searchable databases in a secure environment is also key to encouraging user confidence and greater interactivity in the short term. To succeed, UK online recruitment sites must evolve from the “one-stop shops” of today and become either industry specialists or appeal to a very particular type of candidate.”

For the UK Online Recruitment Benchmark Programme, Forrester polled 7,000 UK Internet users and 200 employers about their attitudes towards career Web sites in February and March 2001. Critically, Forrester interviewed the
users of seven of the UK’s leading online recruitment companies — Monster, Stepstone, GoJobsite, Workthing, Totaljobs, Jobpilot and Fish4Jobs.