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Totaljobs: Are They Still Worth Using After Their Price-Hike?

Is it worth having Totaljobs in your job-board portfolio after their recent price increase?


If there’s one thing customers don’t like, it’s price increases.


To give you a quick example of this, when Amazon Prime announced their monthly fees will increase by just £1 a month - they lost a whopping 590,000 UK customers.


In relation to Totaljobs, this year they have embarked on one of the most bold pricing strategies to ever beset the industry by increasing their recruitment agency prices by +300%! If you were a previous paying subscriber - not only will you cancel your subscription - but you’ll probably be cursing Totaljobs for the rest of your days.


They'll be in good company if they joined the energy market at this rate.


The pricing structure for their corporate and direct employer market has interestingly remained unchanged, all that they have seemed to have done is change the pricing structure for recruitment agencies, so they no longer pay preferential rates for "buying-in-bulk". It's really skewed the goalposts towards the direct market and it's yet to be seen whether it pays off for them financially in the long-run.


What is already evident though is that this pricing strategy has burnt the bridge towards an entire market and seriously angered thousands of recruiters across the country. This frustration will likely spill into the direct market too, as it's not uncommon for Recruitment Consultants to join internal hiring positions. One of the first questions they'll be asked is 'which job-board do you want us to invest in for you'. Unfortunately for Totaljobs, it's highly unlikely that they're going to be as high on the list as they probably should, with how they've treated their long-standing customers.


As Warren Buffett famously said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it". This advice should've been heeded in the board-room before this price-rise had been signed off, as they have truly set themselves to the back of the queue in the recruitment agency market.


Since being in the recruitment market, I've never quite seen such a reaction from a corporate action, nothing even comes close. It's the talk of the town at all the recruitment shows and it's even led to them getting booed at a recent recruiter awards night.


How effective is the Totaljobs service?

In regard to the actual product that Totaljobs have to offer, it's without a shadow of a doubt one of the best platforms in the UK market. Statistically, they have the largest CV database with over 22 million searchable candidates, which is an enormous selection of candidates to have at your fingertips.


To put the CV database of Totaljobs, against one of their long-standing rivals in the market Reed, they're well clear by an additional 9 million candidates (22m on Totaljobs vs 13 million on Reed). It's obviously quite a gulf in CV numbers and this is a hugely important battle to win. As having more candidates, ultimately means you have more choice for CV's when recruiting, which is vital when making consistent hires.


When you couple this with a huge drop in paying recruitment agency clients now using Totaljobs, it does make the competition to contact candidates a little easier. Yet, they do attract a larger corporate client base when compared to the likes of CV-Library & Reed, which may offset this benefit slightly.



How have they benefitted from their merger with Jobsite?

The main reason why they have leapfrogged many of their competitors in having the most amount of live CV's is because they merged with Jobsite, thus creating a bit of a recruitment superpower (similarly to how T-Mobile and Orange merged to create EE).


The affiliate network of Totaljobs reaches far and wide. It's arguably been the main contributor to their success since 1999, with their influence across various sites such as CityJobs, JustEngineers & RetailChoice. Undeniably, the most successful acquisition was when the StepStone Group (who own Totaljobs) successfully acquired Jobsite in 2014 for £90m.


The merger led to a huge boost in their numbers across the board and really pushed them to the top of the pack in terms of CV numbers and job applications.



How do the Totaljobs adverts work?

As for the job-postings, the main offering from Totaljobs is for a 6-week listing - whilst the industry standard is just 4-weeks. This extra-time for the job postings obviously adds value to most clients, as the listing stays live for longer and ultimately attracts more clicks and applications. However, it's worth noting that the longer a job post stays live, the more they drop down the rankings meaning that they do wane significantly over time.


Also, for fast-moving roles such as construction and warehouse positions the roles maybe filled within a week or two, so that additional time quickly becomes quite redundant.


What are the online rates like?

On the Totaljobs website, it states that one job advert costs £169 + VAT. As with all job-boards, they'll certainly offer preferential rates for clients who call the sales team to negotiate a package, but after this recent price rise you'll find less flexibility when compared to their major competitors.


Are Totaljobs worth the spend?

If the budget is available and you can look beyond the initial outlay, I do still see Totaljobs as a worthwhile investment for certain agencies across the country. The general criteria has to be that you have enough roles on, are charging decent placement fees and you also know how to work the system effectively - then in theory - you should be able to make a healthy ROI each year.


The big question is, does better value lie elsewhere? It's not like you're short of options, as in my view the recruitment advertising space is quite a saturated market. You've got a whole host of different options to consider, including but not limited to the likes of: LinkedIn, Indeed, CV-Library, Reed, Facebook, various sector specific sites and many other platforms.


Overall rating: 7/10

Totaljobs are a difficult job-board to rank, as from my perspective they arguably have one of the most effective platforms in the market. This is justified by having the largest CV database, one of the highest levels of traffic in the market and also attracting the best application ratio per job posting.


However, as mentioned in a large section of this article the price-hike has shown a total disregard for their recruitment-agency customer base and priced the majority of these clients out of the market. This lack of affordability really pulls down their ranking as you'll likely make a less return over the course of the year when compared to the likes of Indeed, CV-Library or Reed - and the ROI is the main driver of a job-boards success.




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