The Job Board market through the Realtor lens.

In 2003, a friend of mine had opened his own real estate office. He had worked for a national realtor for only two years, and was upset about the commission structure. Within 1 year, he had 26 agents working for him- more than any other office in the greater Portland area. The housing market was booming, as was the commercial market. In 2005, he invited me to get on board- get my license and start making real money. This time for the real estate market is very comparable to the job board market of 2006 and 2007.

I declined his offer, feeling that there were just too many others in the market right then, and that the boom had been going on for too long. I'm wary of jumping on the wave just as it's about to crash into the shore. Well, the housing market wave has hit the shore. So, what's happened to all those young, fresh, new real estate agents that were making money hand over fist in 2004 and 2005? Most have found new jobs. Many are searching for sales jobs that aren't available- selling real estate doesn't always have transferable skills into other sales professions.

As the market declined, there were fewer buyers and now fewer people are getting credit (though signs of the rebound are showing themselves this week). However, the seasoned agents, the one's who had built networks and established themselves over years, who had seen slow times before and rode them out, they are still out there, and they are getting the business that there is to get.

Between 2002 and 2008, the number of job boards in the US jumped from around 3,000 to over 40,000. Companies didn't know which way to go, so were throwing their money all over, in the "try everything" approach. Employers were pulling their dollars from the increasing rates and decreasing returns of print advertising, and moving toward job boards- good for job boarders.

Now, for the first time since "online job boards" have existed, the labor market is in decline. It will be very interesting to monitor the support, value, and success of the 40,000 job boards. Will there be 50,000 next year? Or will there be 20,000? The question facing job boarders now is how to stand out in this environment, capture market share, and stay viable as the economy constricts. Are you prepared to win in a losing economy?

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Tags: Board, Contraction, Job, Slow, and, boom, bust, estate, labor, market, More…real


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