CareerOne undergoes massive pivot, targets casual and flexible workers

Job-seeker platform CareerOne has adopted a new approach emphasising casual and flexible work, as it aims to become more relevant and competitive in the changing jobs landscape.

The “re-imaging” of the company has also seen it take on new areas, launching a new digital marketing offering letting employers target “passive” job seekers.

Under the leadership of chief executive Karen Lawson, who joined CareerOne last year, the company has rebuilt the business’s strategy and pivoted away from its jobs board heritage.

Lawson, formerly general manager of Yahoo!7, told SmartCompany the new CareerOne recognises the need for a more flexible workplace environment, encourages individuals to monetise their time and will use cookie data sets to better target potential employees.

“Personally for me, being number two in Australia in terms of job sites isn’t where I want to stay. I want our business to forge its own destiny and create its own channel to market,” Lawson says.

Lawson says as technology and the population change, so must businesses.

“Over the last year we’ve been building our data assets and getting to a point where we can launch the new business, providing employers with a number of new solutions to source talent and look at ways they can utilize our media assets,” Lawson says.

“We’ve launched a skills marketplace, which essentially boils down to a marketplace to connect buyers of time with people who have the time and talent.”

Lawson says traditional job board models have been “restricting mobility” and limiting people’s ability to monetise their lives.

“We’re providing an open marketplace to let individuals have the lifestyle they want to have and choose the right working environment,” she says.

“It means thinking of the smallest exchange between businesses and individuals. Businesses can now post single tasks for individuals to pick up; it goes back to the fundamentals of work.”

In developing the platform, CareerOne partnered with Sydney-based start-up Airtasker in July 2013. 

Leveraging the growing popularity of collaborative consumption, Airtasker uses a model made popular by the United States business TaskRabbit, in which people can post tasks as simple as picking up milk from the local supermarket and individuals will complete the tasks for a specified fee.

Other businesses such as Australian company OneShift have also opted to tap into flexible working requirements.

“Australians could be earning $700 million more a week if they used just 10% of their spare time each week doing extra tasks, it would be an amazing boost to the economy,” Lawson says.

“There’re really interesting tasks out there you wouldn’t imagine could create wealth. There was a lady who posted willing to pay someone to find a certain type of candy.”

The skills marketplace is the first element of the new CareerOne, but in the long term there are also plans to launch a crowdfunding capability to the site to help entrepreneurs kick-start new ventures.

Informing Lawson’s strategic thinking was the rise of “the millennials” (18 to 30-year-olds, also commonly known as Generation Y) in the workplace.

“We have millennials with great characteristics. They’re entrepreneurial and very aware of the corporate community, but they want a flexible life and freedom. They want to work in the hours they want and from where they want,” she says.

“The millennials will form such a significant part of the workforce that this was a real pivot point for our business.”

Lawson says CareerOne will operate on three main pillars – helping businesses source talent, boosting employer branding capabilities and using advertising solutions to target job candidates.

CareerOne has also enhanced its digital products, as employers can now video screen candidates through the site, participate in concept career fairs and connect with job seekers in regional areas.

Lawson says the video screening application can drastically reduce the time spent interviewing possible job candidates.

“The hiring manager just writes out three questions they’d like to ask a number of candidates and then the candidate in their own time and in a relaxed situation records a two minute video and sends it to the manager.

“The manager only needs to go through a few two minute videos rather than spend 15 hours interviewing 15 people.”

Another new CareerOne product is its Digital Head-hunter product, which allows businesses to get their job ad in front of a targeted audience.

CareerOne will use cookie data from its site, other News Limited sites and programmatic buying of inventory across thousands of websites to target people in relevant fields, regardless of whether or not they’re looking for a new position.

“This pivots away from the post-and-pray mechanism of job boards and provides employers with a totally different channel to attract passive candidates,” Lawson says.

As well as helping companies target more people, the service will also be available to companies looking to build their brand awareness and wanting to advertise their products to a specific audience.

“At any point in time, 10-14% of the population are actively looking for jobs and the remainder of the workforce is passive. There is a lot of competition in the marketplace around active candidates, but if we want a good economy, we need to find the very best people for the roles,” Lawson says.

“We’re going to help companies digitally head hunt talent and no one else in the world is doing that.”


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