Craigslist Recruitment Revenue to Jump This Year

A new report says Craigslist will bring in $65.3 million from job postings this year, an amount rivaled only by the $36.3 million take from its adult ad istings.

The report by classified advertising consultancy AIM Group says quirky Craigslist will have revenues of $122 million this year. Estimates of its costs last year, suggest that it could have a profit somewhere between $89 million and $99 million. (See note at end of article for full disclosure.)

The estimated $122 million in revenue for 201o represents a 22 percent jump over 2009. Though the bulk of the growth is expected to come from the adult ads on the site, recruitment revenue is projected to increase 10.2 percent over 2009’s $59 million in estimated recruitment revenue.

If that turns out to be the case, it would be a significant achievement considering Wall Street analysts don’t expect much improvement in recruitment advertising. Yahoo says analysts expect Monster revenues to be flat to even slightly down this year. Last year, Monster and CareerBuilder (North America only) — the two biggest job boards in the world — reported declines of 33 and 27 percent respectively. (CareerBuilder is a private company and reports only some numbers voluntarily.)

Some other job boards have told me they don’t expect to see any appreciable growth until late in the year and expect to be flat to slightly up in revenue.That makes the Craigslist projections from AIM Group all the more remarkable. The consultancy counted job postings in February, projecting them for a full year. The results suggest Craigslist is already experiencing a lift in its job postings. And since the AIM Group counts, President Obama has signed a jobs stimulus bill, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the first growth in new jobs in three years.

How we should interpret the Craigslist projections is not at all clear. On the one hand, it could be an early sign of a recovering economy. Many of the jobs on Craigslist are part-time or entry-level or temp positions. Typically, these are the harbingers of a recovery.

Another possible conclusion is that acceptance of Craigslist continues to grow as a legitimate source of candidates. That acceptance likely has been nudged along by Craigslist’s attractive pricing. While recruitment is not especially price sensitive, a $75 job posting is pretty tempting compared to the $350-$400 the big boards charge for a single job posting.

Of course, it has to produce results. The evidence says Craigslist does; otherwise, it wouldn’t see the year-over-year growth it does. In past years, it has been able to increase the number of markets where it charges for job listings. Last year it added Austin, Texas to 17 others. Now, Craigslist charges in: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orange County, California, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego,  Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

According to the report, some of these markets have surprisingly small counts, when their size is considered. The report says, “For its size, Houston — the fourth-largest city in the U.S. — recorded a mere 5,200 jobs, flat from a year ago. Chicago saw 9,900 jobs posted in February, slightly better than 2009’s 9,400 jobs. The fewest jobs in our survey were in Sacramento (3,700) and Austin (4,300).”

That tracks with the Monster Employment Index for those cities. In February, Houston’s index stood at 104 compared to the national index of 124. Chicago was at 66, and Sacramento stood at 62. Monster does not offer a local report for Austin.

Whether Craigslist is a bell cow for hiring trends this year will become a little clearer on Thursday, when Monster Worldwide reports its first quarter 2010 financial results. CareerBuilder, which typically releases its North American numbers about the same time, may also offer further clues. On May 7th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will report on the jobs and unemployment picture for April.

Article Continues Below

Note: I participated in the AIM Group report. I did the analysis and writing of the section on Craigslist’s 2009 expenses.

Atlanta, Austin,
Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los
Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orange
County, Calif., Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland,
Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco
and Washington, D.C.Atlanta, Austin,

Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los

Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orange

County, Calif., Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland,

Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco

and Washington, D.C.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


8 Comments on “Craigslist Recruitment Revenue to Jump This Year

  1. Hi John,

    Thank you for sharing this information about Craigslist’s growth in the recruitment advertising industry. It’s a great source of low cost advertising for internal and external recruiters. Thus, it’s also a great source of on-line job postings for job seekers.

    The biggest impediment to using Craigslist for job searches is that the site only allows job seekers to search one city at a time. However, I have a new blog post that gives the “how to” on searching multiple cities at the same time. See for the post. I hope this is helpful to some of your readers.


    Donna Svei

  2. Craigslist job postings were free in Atlanta for some time. They were starting to get ‘traction’ as a major jobs advertisement site. Unfortunately, they implemented / required fees a bit too early in my opinion and had not quite gained the audience they needed to really attract the numbers of applicants and jobs to make it what it could have been. If they had waited another 6 months they may have ultimately made way more money – and I would have received way more response for my postings.

    Still not a bad site for some jobs, but I think it could have been so much more.

  3. Thanks John. Craigslist continues to be an extraordinary bellwether. 65 million in income with their model is so incredible and no one seems to replicate [or even wants to] their [obvious] strengths…building an engaged community. Our Feb whitepaper includes my amazement over how many hires are attributed to this niche board from the world’s largest and supposedly conservative firms. I’ve enormous admiration for Craigs persistence in the face of so many pressures.

  4. From a small/medium size business without a devoted HR function, Craigslist is a great solution (and one of the only solutions).

    After talking with small business, they like Craigslist because it’s simple, easy, and effective. With an emphasis on easy/simple.

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