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Monster and CareerBuilder to Merge


Two of the once-mighty titans of the job board industry—Monster and CareerBuilder—have announced they will form a joint venture.   

Monster, based in Weston, Mass., is a subsidiary of Randstad, the world’s largest staffing firm. CareerBuilder, based in Chicago, is majority-owned by Apollo Global Management, an asset management company.

CareerBuilder investors, including Apollo, will hold a controlling interest in the joint venture, with Randstad retaining a minority interest. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the next three months. The management team of the combined entity will comprise senior leaders from both companies. Branding for the new company will be determined later.

Both Monster—ranked 20th in online job advertising revenue, and CareerBuilder—ranked 21st—have sat atop the industry at different times in the past 25 years. But that was before Indeed—launched in 2004—popularized job aggregation and pay-per-click job advertising on its way to becoming the world’s most trafficked jobs site.

The combination of Monster and CareerBuilder could result in a marketplace with greater scale and reach as well as a streamlined experience for users of the sites. But many industry experts think it is probably too late for these job board pioneers and think the merger will do little to change people’s perceptions of the brands as lacking innovation and relevance.

Neil Costa, the CEO of recruitment marketing and consulting agency HireClix, predicted a development like this at the start of the year, saying that the industry is ripe for consolidation.

“The news makes sense for both Monster and CareerBuilder,” he said. “These are two legacy brands who have lost their way a bit. The joint venture will need to find ways to innovate from a technology and operational perspective to remain a player in the recruitment marketplace.”

Steven Rothberg, the founder of College Recruiter, co-host of the Inside Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast, and an industry veteran, noted that “the merger does not mean that the one organization will thrive or even be stronger than the two were prior to the merger.”

Rothberg cited as precedent the 2005 merger between Kmart and Sears, once-leading brands that had fallen on hard times. “Today, you still see their stores, but they’re far fewer in number and relevance than they were even at the time of the merger,” he said. “What customers wanted from their retailers was not what either organization individually or the two of them collectively were able or willing to deliver, and so those customers continued to drift away from them and toward retailers who were more forward-thinking, including Target and Amazon.”

What does the merger mean long term for job boards?

“Little, I suspect,” Rothberg said. “As was the case with Kmart and Sears, the days when either Monster or CareerBuilder could move the industry are almost certainly in the past. But will they remain relevant to millions of candidates and thousands of employers? Absolutely. And will that relevancy likely decline over time? Also absolutely.”

Jeff Dickey-Chasins, a leading job board and careers site consultant at JobBoardDoctor, expressed surprise at the announcement.

“I assumed Monster and CareerBuilder would drift along, trying to milk as much revenue out of their past glory as possible,” he said. “Now the question is: Which name survives? My guess is CareerBuilder, which continues to have a reputation in some regions. I think leaving both brands intact would be unwise for Apollo in terms of extracting maximum revenue from the deal.”

Monster got its start as The Monster Board in 1994. was established in 1999. Randstad acquired Monster in 2016.

CareerBuilder was founded in 1995. Apollo acquired a majority interest in CareerBuilder in 2017.

“The merger of two old job boards is probably a fitting end to both companies, which are long past their prime,” said Chris Russell, a job board consultant and managing director of RecTech Media, a recruiting technology consulting company in Trumbull, Conn. “I would have expected both to be sold off by now to bigger players, but the move seems like a last-ditch attempt at staying relevant. Both sites are just hanging on to their dwindling brand awareness, which gets smaller by the day.”


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