Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 12th 2015 Contents JULY 12 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | SBG5
Ten years is a long time to
be in business. Ten years
ago, Facebook was still
making its way around
dorm rooms at Harvard.
Twitter wasn t even in
existence. And, at the
time, having an online
business presence was still the exception rather
than the rule in T&T.
Quoting a statistic from a Bloomberg article
in September 2013, Forbes.com says eight out
of 10 business in the US will fail within their
first 18 months. In July 2005,
CaribbeanJobs.com, a digital recruitment
advertiser, got its start. Ten years later, it is
doing a US$160,000 upgrade of its Web site
and is creating apps to access its services from
android and IOS smartphones.
An international company
Stuart Shanahan, the company s managing
director, said CaribbeanJobs burgeoning success
can be credited to its people, its environment
and its "devotion" to product.
"Once we get the person, we try to build
an environment in which they can flourish
and excel. We also spend a lot of time ensuring
our product is as great as it can be. We have
a 100-person group development team sitting
across five countries who are permanently
working on improvements to our Web sites
and delivering best in class platforms."
It would be only natural that CaribbeanJobs
relies so heavily on its people as the site s pur-
pose is to help companies and recruiters find
the best talent in any industry.
CaribbeanJobs began its life as part of Digicel
owner Denis O Brien s empire. O Brien pur-
chased Saongroup, an Irish recruitment adver-
tising company responsible for Irishjobs.ie, in
"They (Saongroup) branched out and they
went into the UK, Luxembourg, South Africa,
China, Central America and the Caribbean,"
recounted Shanahan, who is Irish himself.
"When Denis O Brien opened up Digicel in
Jamaica, seeing the success he was having
with IrishJobs, he decided to replicate the
model and bring it to the Caribbean. When
we came to the Caribbean in 2005, there was
no online recruitment."
O Brien then sold Saongroup to StepStone,
a German recruitment company that employs
1,600 people worldwide, in 2013. StepStone
is a subsidiary of the Axel Springer media
group, which publishes The Bild, a newspaper
with one of the highest circulations in Europe.
Shanahan explains the European group s
foray into digital recruitment advertising, par-
ticularly in the Caribbean.
"They decided they needed to get into digital
because their print sales were declining. They
focused on a few different areas in Europe,
classifieds, digital classifieds, jobs and real
estate. They made a few acquisitions. One of
them was Saongroup (acquired through Step-
Stone), the company that set up Irishjobs and
CaribbeanJobs," he said.
StepStone aims to hold the top two positions
in each digital recruitment advertising market
around the world.
And, according to Shanahan, Caribbean-
Jobs.com is well on its way to cementing its
place in the top spot in this region.
What's digital recruitment
CaribbeanJobs does not recruit employees.
Shanahan said it is a common misconception
of the company s core product.
"When I say I work for CaribbeanJobs, peo-
ple often ask if I can get them a job," joked
"That s not how it works. We sit in the mid-
dle and we don t get involved with the recruit-
ment of people."
What CaribbeanJobs does provide is the
space for companies and employment agencies
to post job openings on the Internet. Shanahan
said they do business with most of this coun-
try s employment agencies.
"We don t want to get into competition
with them. They use the site, they use it well
and they also bring content to the site," said
the managing director.
Digital recruitment advertising forms part
of the Axel Springer group s classified unit.
"That s the job ads, real estate. CaribbeanJobs
is a tiny piece of the classified unit."
The other business units are the paid and
the marketing units. In the paid unit revenues
are earned through the group s print division,
primarily through paying readers. The mar-
keting unit s revenues are earned from adver-
tisers on electronic media and websites.
Shanahan said he could not reveal how
much CaribbeanJobs contributed to the group s
overall classified revenues but told the Sunday
BG that for 2014, the group made €512 million
through its classified division.
On turning ten
Shanahan said CaribbeanJobs invested
€120,000 (US$160,000) to upgrade the com-
pany s Web site in December 2014.
He considers this to be one of the company s
"We had skins on the Web site before, where
you used the same platform, but dress it up
a little differently. What we did in 2014 was
For the last month, the site has had 507,333
visitors per month, with 251, 967 of these
being unique visitors.
Shanahan said they expect this number to
grow with the site s new features. The new
site remembers visitors preferences once they
accept the site s cookies on their initial visit.
Visitors can also select an option to have the
site not display jobs they are not interested in.
Three years ago, 2012 CaribbeanJobs launched
its education section. This part of the site gives
jobseekers tips on resume writing and inter-
viewing. The company has also partnered with
several local and international colleges and
universities to advertise their course offerings
on the site.
Further upgrades are underway to mark the
company s tenth anniversary, which occurs
"We are continuing to invest in the Web
site and so we are launching a job app for job-
seekers. That is coming out, hopefully within
But the site will also be making it easier for
employers to improve what Shanahan termed
their "recruitment brand. Companies that
don t have a career section on their Web site
can go to CaribbeanJobs and post their job
opening. We will allow their IT department
to access a code, which will allow the vacancy
to show on the company s site as well.
"This means they can build a career section
on their Web site which represents their
employment brand. I think that brand is so
important because representation of an
employment brand also affects the represen-
tation of the overall company brand. I think
some companies don t have a permanent
employment brand and they don t do much
to improve it."
Beyond these activities, the CaribbeanJobs
marketing director said the company wants
to deepen its market penetration in T&T, Bar-
bados and Jamaica, as well as establish a pres-
ence on other islands across the region.
"There is still a lot of room for growth in
Trinidad and our other markets where we have
our offices. I think the natural progression
would be to keep growing in those markets,
but also looking at the other markets and set-
ting up there. In our overall group, this market
is still underdeveloped."
Shanahan said there was still some reluc-
tance among companies in T&T to recruit
staff online. But he expected that this would
change. He said as the older generation of
managers leaves corporate life, they are being
replaced by people who got their first job
"They would have made their way up
through the years and would be looking for
ways to streamline processes. One of these
would be recruiting online," said Shanahan.
An alliance between CaribbeanJobs and tra-
ditional media is also not outside the realm
Shanahan said this is already done in the
group s other markets.
"In Ireland at the moment, we have a deal
with the Irish Independent (newspaper). They
don t even have a career section on their Web
site anymore, they now direct people to
IrishJobs. For us I think that is the big change
ahead for us."
But he said the company will continue to
focus its core product.
"It will be business as usual. We are not
going to try and reinvent the wheel or change
direction. We are going to focus on what we
do. We do online recruitment advertising. We
are really good at it. And, we are going to con-
tinue to be really good at it and really push
the boundaries in that regard in development
of the industry."
innovates into the future
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