Recruitment ads in The Age: Loudly knocking at death’s door

 

Regular readers will recall
that this time each year, for the past two years, I have conducted an analysis
of the My Career section within The Saturday Age  .
 

Here’s part of what I wrote on 10 April last year:
 

The 32 tabloid sized pages of
ads which had appeared on 26 March 2011 has now shrunk to 17 tabloid sized
pages   of ads and that’s still being generous considering how many internal
Fairfax ads and ads for training courses were scattered throughout those pages.

 

My year-on-year analysis of My
Career job ads showed a 47% decline   between the last Saturday of March
2011 and the last Saturday of March 2012. The (Fairfax Media) share price is
now (on Tuesday 10 April 2012) trading at 73 cents which is a 43% decline  
from the same time a year ago.

 

On Saturday 6 April 2013 I
bought a copy of The Saturday Age to see how things had fared for Fairfax Media
(publisher of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial
Review) in the past 12 months with their former profit powerhouse; classified
employment ads.
 

The verdict was very, very
ugly.
 

The MyCareer lift-out was a
total of 12 tabloid pages. Just eight of these pages contained job ads  .
I counted a total of 156  separate ads. It only took me about 3 minutes
to complete the count.
 

Could you imagine how long it
would have taken to count every ad, say 5 years ago? There was not a single
recruitment or HR role advertised, just a very small ‘pointer’ ad identifying
the role of Manager, HR for Banyule City Council being advertised in the Early
General News
 
In two short years, MyCareer
has shrunk from 32 pages of employment ads to 8 pages. A 47% decline from 2011
to 2012 was followed by a further 53% decline from last 2012 to 2013. That’s a
drop of 75% in 104 weeks  .  
 

After a Fairfax
Media journalist
was fired this week for criticising his own
company’s new business news restructure (he suggested the restructure
effectively endorsed ‘soft’ business news reporting and advertorials), it looks
like the rocky road for Fairfax Media will continue indefinitely.
 

The only bright news for
Fairfax Media employees and shareholders (‘bright’ being a very relative term)
was that their share price was ‘only’ down 11% from this time last year. Pretty
good when you consider that six months ago, in the middle of October 2012,
shares in Fairfax Media were trading at 35 cents.
 

Is there any likelihood that
the rest of 2013 or 2014 will bring better news for MyCareer and Fairfax Media?
It’s very hard to believe so.

3 Comments

  1. Aaron Dodd on 15/04/2013 at 4:11 am

    Recruitment advertising in The Age is dead, but it's a symptom of the whole newspaper. Becoming a tabloid on weekdays is the death-rattle of the once proud masthead that was The age. I give them 2 more years tops.

  2. Ross Clennett on 15/04/2013 at 7:19 am

    Thanks for your comment, Aaron. I agree with you on the first count and suspect you will be proven right on the second count.

  3. Anthony Sochan on 15/04/2013 at 10:51 pm

    Couldn't agree more about print – interestingly over the last 3 years we have doubled our headcount but cut 1/3 off our advertising spend over that time.

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