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Group Seeks to Replace America’s Job Bank Web Site

A private-sector group is hoping to help employers cope with the planned death of America’s Job Bank—for a fee.

September 16, 2011
Related Topics: Internet, Candidate Sourcing, Latest News
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A private-sector group is hoping to help employers cope with the planned death of America’s Job Bank—for a fee.

The DirectEmployers Association said this week that it has launched a service that will help companies meet government rules related to job postings. The service, dubbed JobCentral National Labor Exchange, thus will serve as a stand-in for America’s Job Bank, said Bill Warren, the association’s executive director. America’s Job Bank is a free government job board that is slated to shut down in June 2007.

"We will in effect replace America’s Job Bank," Warren says. "Basically, we’re working to help companies meet their compliance requirements."

The association, a nonprofit group of more than 200 employers, says services at the new exchange include job posting, résumé searching and job distribution both to Internet search engines such as Google and Indeed.com and to more than 1,000 other Internet sites including diversity, military, alumni and state sites. The site will play a major role in helping companies comply with state and federal regulations such as affirmative action objectives, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs requirements and veteran hiring goals when America’s Job Bank is closed, the association says.

Job listings on the new exchange are free for association members, and cost $25 per month for nonmember organizations. That fee is much cheaper than what employers face at major commercial job boards, where a single posting can cost several hundred dollars. On the other hand, posting jobs to America’s Job Bank is free.

America’s Job Bank dates to 1995, and currently lists more than 2 million jobs and nearly 663,000 résumés. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor said it planned to phase out America’s Job Bank by June 30, 2007. In a notice sent to state officials, the Labor Department argued that maintaining and improving the site no longer makes sense "given that AJB duplicates what is already available in the private sector."

But the decision to shutter the site has raised a number of questions, including how companies will meet compliance needs. There’s also concern about possible harm to smaller employers and job seekers.

Recruiting analyst Gerry Crispin applauded the association’s aim, but voiced skepticism about whether it will truly achieve the status of a national labor exchange. He says the fee of $25 per job would deter small and midsize employers from posting all their jobs. Those employers, he says, typically list all their jobs for free at local employment offices around the country, which in turn put the jobs on America’s Job Bank.

"If the association does not aggregate all the jobs from all the 2,000 employment offices, then it does not have a national labor exchange," he says.

Warren responds that employers can get all their jobs included in his network without charge by posting them on free sites such as state job boards. The $25 fee for a posting on the JobCentral site gives them the compliance benefits, he says.

Warren also says the new exchange represents an improvement for job seekers, in the sense that more jobs can be searched through his site. More than 5 million jobs are available to job seekers from corporate Web sites, newspapers, trade associations and other Internet sources in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, 230 major metropolitan areas and all U.S. cities and postal ZIP code areas, the association says. The service is free to job seekers.

The U.S. Labor Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the new site.

DirectEmployers Association is a nonprofit group of more than 200 U.S. employers, including major firms such as General Electric, IBM and Johnson & Johnson. The group’s purposes include developing and managing systems for employers to reduce recruiting costs.

Warren, former president of Monster.com, says he doubts a for-profit job board could manage to build a successful replacement of America’s Job Bank. That’s partly because it would be hard to continue growing revenue from the operation, Warren says. He says his organization will cover the costs of the exchange—which he estimates at $2.5 million a year--through its members’ annual fees of $12,500 per year.

--Ed Frauenheim

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