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December 05, 2006

Interesting News

I don't know where he got this news from but the Daily Pundit has something of interest:

The Guardian is effectively being subsidised by the government and could go bust if a Tory government introduced a ban on public sector recruitment through newspaper ads. At present, government recruiting is costing the taxpayer in excess of &pound800 million per year. Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, is promising to change the system to allows jobs to be advertised for free on a new official website. The cost of running the website would be approximately &pound5 million per year.

Bring it on!  seems to be the correct response, don't you think?

December 5, 2006 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink

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George Osborne has floated a new public sector recruitment policy to be applied should the Conservatives get into power: all media advertising for government jobs will be pulled and instead a central website will be set up (at an alleged cost of £5m a... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 5, 2006 12:52:04 PM

Comments

That's assuming that the civil service can provide a simple website for less than 20 billion trillion zillion.

Posted by: dearieme | Dec 5, 2006 9:10:49 AM

dearieme,

Alternatively, a bunch of right-wing programmers could set one up right now. It wouldn't cost very much to do.

Posted by: Tim Almond | Dec 5, 2006 9:25:50 AM

I'd love to see that happen. Smug mutual back-scratching bastards!

Posted by: MarkS | Dec 5, 2006 9:28:19 AM

Wow how do they manage to spend that much on a website? Maybe if they do the PPP they can lower their costs?

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge | Dec 5, 2006 9:37:26 AM

Give me a few hours and I could whip one up. And I'd do it for just £1 million. Where do I sign?

Posted by: Josh | Dec 5, 2006 9:41:46 AM

5 MILLION QUID A YEAR!! to run a f*cking website???!!

Where do I sign up?

Posted by: pogo | Dec 5, 2006 10:07:33 AM

"Wow how do they manage to spend that much on a website? "

Jobserve employs 80 staff, but they operate internationally and advertised 2.5 million jobs last year.

But, Jobserve is, technologically, in a different league to the Guardian job site. The Guardian site is easy peasy.

Posted by: Tim Almond | Dec 5, 2006 10:19:01 AM

It sounds like a good idea, if they can achieve the ban. Setting up a free website without it is doomed to failure (and spiralling costs, as has been pointed out).

Not that the Grauniad would go bust, it would simply start to take advertising from other sources.

Posted by: JuliaM | Dec 5, 2006 10:20:17 AM

Not that the Grauniad would go bust, it would simply start to take advertising from other sources.

Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

Posted by: paul ilc | Dec 5, 2006 10:26:15 AM

"Not that the Grauniad would go bust, it would simply start to take advertising from other sources. "

Like cheap, polluting holidays for the less well off to stop knowing their place according to Toynbee's vision.

Posted by: Josh | Dec 5, 2006 10:28:43 AM

a) Web-only recruitment would be *outrageously* discriminatory for public sector jobs, given the demographic, ethnic, disability-or-otherwise profile of people with web access. There is absolutely no way it would be allowed to happen.

b) £5m a year for a jobs website is remarkably cheap. There are around 1 million new public sector jobs every year (assuming staff turnover of around 20%). Online recruitment market leader Monster.com spends US$187m a year on operational (ie non-salary, non-marketing) costs and advertises 12 million jobs a year.

Even assuming costs are scalable down, which they aren't, that a public sector organisation would have the same cost base, which it wouldn't, and that startup costs can be ignored, which they can't, this gives us a £10m annual figure.

c) I thought you all hated the BBC because it crowded out private investment and punished innovative web companies. Do you not think this move might /just slightly/ hurt private sector online recruitment businesses?

Posted by: john b | Dec 5, 2006 10:49:43 AM

Why have a government run "new official website"? I fear the Tories are just as statist as Labour.

Or is this just a warning shot at the left-wing press; be nice to us or we will ruin you when we get into power.

Posted by: Kit | Dec 5, 2006 11:21:01 AM

I have an even better idea! Since the Guardian Media Group owns AutoTrader, perhaps what we need is a big government-owned portal for second hand cars! For shame, Tim, this is not even internally consistent.

Tim adds: Not sure I quite grasp that. Second hand cars is one private person selling to another. Govt jobs is actually the Govt buying a service itself. For example, they run their own payroll systems, don't they? Why not their own HR?

Posted by: dsquared | Dec 5, 2006 11:21:08 AM

"£5m a year for a jobs website is remarkably cheap. There are around 1 million new public sector jobs every year (assuming staff turnover of around 20%). Online recruitment market leader Monster.com spends US$187m a year on operational (ie non-salary, non-marketing) costs and advertises 12 million jobs a year."

I'd like to see a citation for that $187 million of non-salary operational costs.

Posted by: Tim Almond | Dec 5, 2006 11:30:19 AM

Currently writing it up for my blog; here's an extract: Monster.com spends $187m on non-marketing non-wage costs to offer 12 million jobs a year.

Posted by: john b | Dec 5, 2006 11:50:24 AM

note also that public sector recruitment advertising is quite a specialist field given all the levels of EU procurement policy and the differing policies of each recruiter. If this was tendered to the private sector, I would imagine that the Guardian Media Group would be very likely to win, and that the GMG would love to have a nice big fat guaranteed PFI contract rather than having to slug it out in the real world.

Posted by: dsquared | Dec 5, 2006 12:01:04 PM

"Why have a government run "new official website"? I fear the Tories are just as statist as Labour."

Because other private companies no doubt charge as much as the Guardian (given their audience reach etc) and so the 'savings' would disappear.

The government could save a lot of money doing things itself rather than the private sector under these assumptions, one supposes. I await Osborne's declaration that it is to start building its own cars, rather than use Jaguars.

Posted by: Matthew | Dec 5, 2006 12:05:44 PM

My piece is out there - I would be polite and use a trackback rather than comment-writing, but Tim seems to have turned TB functionality off.

Tim aqdds: No, TB not turned off, unless by Typepad themselves.

Posted by: john b | Dec 5, 2006 12:31:21 PM

John B,

I'm surprised at those figures from Monster. They sound very high.

Jobserve deliver millions of job ads and 10,000,000 hits per annum with 80 staff, including sales.

Guardian Jobs has about 300 government jobs at the moment. So, at best, that's 100,000 jobs per annum, not millions. Functionally, it's not a patch on Jobserve.

Setting up a job board hosting 300 ads is trivial. I've built more complicated applications in a few weeks.

Posted by: Tim Almond | Dec 5, 2006 1:40:28 PM

Tim A: your figure of 300 (actually 372) refers to "government" jobs on the Guardian jobs site. There are also 353 "social care" jobs, 139 "housing" jobs, 687 "education" jobs and 2639 "Health" jobs. And this is the first week of December, which is right at the end of the budget year.

Tim adds: D2....which country you living in? UK budgets are April to April aren't they?

Posted by: dsquared | Dec 5, 2006 1:56:46 PM

The Guardian jobsite is not the same as GMG's total public sector recruitment - remember that the Guardian's print presence isn't fully duplicated online, plus GMG has a huge stable of local papers that don't put their ads on the Grauniad.

Grauniad Jobs currently has 372 ads in "government" (ie civil service plus local) plus 2639 in health (predominantly NHS, although a few are private carehomes etc - let's say over 1600) plus 687 in education (ditto - let's say over 500) - so over 2500 jobs in sectors that would be covered on your portal. On your metric above, that's getting on for a million jobs a year, although I agree that's very much "at best"

Guardian Online is not the leading recruiter for education, where TES has a 70%ish market share. It also tends to focus on higher-end jobs requiring a degree, significant experience or both. The lower-end jobs tend to be advertised in GMG's local papers, which do not place ads on the Guardian Jobs site by default.

Posted by: john b | Dec 5, 2006 1:57:27 PM

Err, thought I'd deleted the first paragraph there. Basically, what Dan said.

Posted by: john b | Dec 5, 2006 1:59:15 PM

"There are also 353 "social care" jobs, 139 "housing" jobs, 687 "education" jobs and 2639 "Health" jobs."

Aren't the quotation marks in the wrong place there? Shouldn't it be: There are also 353 social care "jobs", 139 housing "jobs", 687 education "jobs" and 2639 Health "jobs".

That's better ;)

Posted by: JuliaM | Dec 5, 2006 2:05:51 PM

also, note that a "job board" is not a valid comparison. People advertise jobs in newspapers because they are *advertising* them. This is rather different from simply posting the vacancy on a noticeboard and hoping that candidates happen to turn up (or happen to type in the exact combination of search terms that brings up the vacancy). If Osborne is planning on actually banning the advertisement of government posts completely then he presumably has some sort of strategy for helping candidates to find the jobs being posted. Or perhaps we will all be forced by law to consult the government job board every week in order to see what jobs are available? This is getting more like the Soviet Union the more I think about it.

What other large employer would think it was a good idea to cut its job advertising budget to zero, on the basis that they were publishing vacancies on a single website somewhere?

Posted by: dsquared | Dec 5, 2006 2:06:18 PM

thinking about it, I suspect that what we will create is a new section of the Guardian dedicated to adverts which advertise the fact that a particular vacancy is currently being advertised on the government website (this is basically already the state of affairs with respect to public sector tenders, where they advertise the advertisement of a tender in the Official Journal). Nice one George.

Posted by: dsquared | Dec 5, 2006 2:21:44 PM

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