Uber for Recruitment? Tell him he’s dreaming!


Originally posted on Linkedin in August 2015

These are the reasons why I believe there will be no such thing as an Uber (or Airbnb) for recruitment:

.1 There is no pent up supply of talent: Uber and ABnB have made privately owned cars and properties available for a purpose they had not been utilised before. Supply of cars for rides and apartments to holiday in have exponentially grown when these apps made all of us potential taxi drivers and Basil Fawltys.

Whilst there is certainly under and unemployment to account for, there is really no hidden talent supply that can be unleashed by the disintermediation of the recruitment industry. Apps will not increase per se the availability of IT or Finance talent just because the recruitment industry is – well – uberised.

.2 Talent is not owned/managed by monopolies. The disruptive power of Uber and Airbnb stems from their ability to break the barriers to entry of the verticals they operate in. We can certainly do with process reinvention in recruitment but – again – there is no mega cartel that directs people when to work, where to work, and for which price.

.3 There is no extraordinary economic surplus extracted from the placement of talent as it currently exists. Taxis have their meters, dollars per mile cost and surcharges. Hotels have their daily rates, check out times and penalties for ruining the carpet. You could not negotiate or opt for a substitute service – until the apps ruined the cartels’ show, that is.

With the additional supply, incumbents’ margins have eroded and redistributed to the new entrants.

Meantime, talk to recruitment agencies and ask them how much price pressure they can exert on their clients (hint: not much, until they change their value proposition at least). Bottom line: there are no fat margins to be rejigged to the dis-intermediaries.

Agree? Not?

Have a good weekend.

PS Subsequent to this clumsy write-up, I’ve had the opportunity to read Barbara Gray’s economy of abundance / copianomics paper. Her solid framework is extremely useful to understand the industries where there ‘could’ be ubers and airbnb’s. Do yourself a favor and read the paper

Come on, be social :)
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