“Print and online tools are not mutually exclusive,” says June Shelp, an economist and director of new initiatives at the New York City-based Conference Board. “There is no question that the Internet has become an established method that is used when looking for work, but people are still relying on traditional newspaper ads as well.”
Slightly more than 71 percent of survey participants say they use online ads when looking for a job, statistically equal to the 70.6 percent who reported using newspaper ads. The Conference Board polled a nationally representative sample of 5,000 households for the study, which was released in early November.
Job board experts, however, disagree with the study’s findings. They estimate that online tools are much more widely used than newspapers are. They do agree, however, that employers should not underestimate the significant role that newspapers can play in certain recruitment missions.
When looking to fill positions in rural areas or where there are low rates of Internet connectivity, newspapers may be a more effective recruitment tool, says Jonathan Duarte, president and CEO of Go Jobs Inc., a job board and recruitment consultancy in Orange, California. Recruiters staffing manufacturing jobs also may have better luck using traditional print ads, he says.
Geography is not the only factor that recruiters should consider when deciding whether to advertise a job opening in a newspaper versus online. Certain pockets of the population, such as office professionals, have more access to the Internet, making them better targets for online ads.
“It is important for companies to know who they are targeting, because it will have an influence on where to advertise,”
The study shows that job seekers use a variety of tools when looking for work, with print and online ranking highest. Fifty percent of participants report networking with friends and colleagues when looking for work. Employment agencies ranked lower: Only 26 percent of the survey respondents said they used them to aid their job search.
While use of newspapers and online ads as employment tools is virtually equal, the perception of their effectiveness differs widely, according to the study. Almost 40 percent of survey respondents who have been extended a job offer attribute it to an Internet search. By comparison, just 23.9 percent of survey participants who received a job offer cite newspaper ads as the source of employment—below employment agencies at 29.9 percent and networking with friends and colleagues at 27.1 percent.
Job seekers can find details about the company, its address and a better description about the job opening than they probably could find in a newspaper advertisement.
“The Internet has billions of pages of information,”