2020 Niche Job Boards on the Rise

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There is a tangible shift happening in the job board market. Job seekers want to land a perfect gig reflective of the climate, economic opportunity, and their values. And on the flipside, employers want the same thing—a passionate candidate who can help their organization grow in a competitive and opportunity-rich environment.

We’re sure you’ve heard the expression, “Jack of all trades, master of none” and if you haven’t, let us break it down for you. In the past, it was considered an attractive job seeker quality to have dabbled in many industries, roles, and skill sets, however, employers now want candidates who distinguish themselves by what they specifically represent and what they’re specifically great at.

Welcome to the age of the vertical job market platform. Andreesen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm says,

a vertical job market platform focuses on one industry, role, candidate type, or demographic. It focuses on one thing, and one thing only.”

Imagine a world where job seekers and employers are equally ecstatic to have found each other—their perfect match. They’re both more likely to invest wholeheartedly, stick around, and grow together. Why find a sub-par match when you can find an ideal match?

Now is a great time to invest your resources into building a niche job board. Whether you have a footprint in a pre-existing niche or you’re a job board operator looking to expand, there are a few things to consider before you start building your board. You need to take a step back and think strategically about your niche and how to get the highest ROI.

We’re going to walk you through two key approaches, to help you discover niche industries on the rise and how to successfully build a job board in that market.

Look around: what’s happening in the world?

The most simple, yet often underestimated approach, is to observe and connect the dots. With that in mind, and because of the current climate, here are three major niche industries booming right now:

  1. The biggest elephant in the room right now is the COVID-19 pandemic. This event has exposed a job search environment filled with fearful people who want to help.About one in six Americans is currently out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This staggering number alone is a call for employers to rise and meet the needs of a hungry and determined workforce eager to get back to work. This mass group of people (not only in the U.S., but worldwide), are looking for unconventional, yet essential ways to contribute. No surprise here, but the healthcare industry needs the most support right now. Laid off school nurses have been asked to step into hospitals to support. Medical administrative staff are being trained to screen for COVID-19 on and offsite. Some folks are being trained as “Certified Nursing Assistants”—employers pay them while they learn onsite and train online at their own pace. Retired medical professionals are being recruited to come back during this unprecedented time. Your niche job board should bring together two parties who urgently need each other.
  2. In the world of politics, 2020 is a big year in the U.S. With the presidential election right around the corner, organizations are hiring locally and nationally. This includes: campaign managers, community organizers, media strategists, political analysts, voter registration staff, canvassers, fundraisers, and more. In this unique climate, while people are out of work and exploring immediate opportunities, it’s a great time for job seekers to explore their career options. Think of what is coming down the pipeline and how you can connect the job seeker to a relevant open role. Political Job Hunt does a good job of educating their political job seeker audience about how to secure their next role. Their blog covers topics like how to polish your political reference list, target your job search, and network and build connections outside of the political job board. Offer tactical advice and go above and beyond to help your audience succeed. You’ll earn their trust in the process.
  3. The escalating climate crisis is a hot button topic and for a good reason. Because this concern is a global issue, there are endless opportunities for job seekers and employers to make a difference in their line of work. New departments, initiatives, and brands are popping up all over the world to focus solely on social impact, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. Job boards like Reconsidered.co connect passionate and action-driven job seekers to passionate and action-driven organizations.We expect the social impact, sustainability, and environmentally-friendly job search websites to grow in the next couple of years. This is because according to Business Insider, “Generation Z is acutely aware of environmental, political, and socio-economic problems that societies face today. And according to a study by The National Retail Federation and IBM, they’re “more serious about this” than any other generation.” Did you know there are 61 million GenZers in the U.S. right now? That’s a pretty big group.

Dig into the numbers: what do people care about?

The second simple, yet research-focused approach is to put on your statistics cap and trust the data. Here are a handful of consumer-driven niche categories on the rise right now:

  1. The legalization of marijuana has continued to grow across the U.S. for many years, and according to Marijuana Biz Daily, “By 2023, we project total retail marijuana sales in the United States will reach between $25 billion and $30 billion annually—more than a threefold increase from estimated annual sales in 2018.”The industry is proactively seeking a robust workforce to keep pace with the evolving laws and regulations as marijuana becomes more widely available. This includes hiring growers, trimmers, product managers, sales representatives, storefront managers, legal counsel—the list goes on and on. It’s a budding industry (see what we did there?) with only a shared opportunity to gain.
  2. A less sexy, but extremely important niche industry on the rise is SaaS (selling software as a service). According to Gartner, “The SaaS cloud application services market segment will reach $113.1 billion in 2021, up by almost twice from the 2017 revenues of $58.8 billion.”What started as a developer Q&A platform to share knowledge turned into a profitable job search website called Stack Overflow. Their strategy was to first bring the people in and then provide additional (and mutual) value through their job board. If you already have a loyal and growing tech community, consider creating a SaaS-specific job board portal on your website. Given the growth trajectory ahead, wouldn’t you like a piece of the SaaS pie AND the opportunity to share it with your community?
  3. Even before the pandemic hit, there has been a consistent trend of job seekers searching for the flexibility to work remotely. According to Buffer, “If they could, 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers.”Employers also seek to widen their net in hopes of finding the ideal remote employee. According to Linkedin, “72% of talent professionals agree that work flexibility (which includes remote work options) will be very important for the future of HR and recruiting.” When you open up the door to an entire global remote workforce, remote-specific job board opportunities are endless. The challenge for you is, to create a remote-specific job board within a niche industry, and give it a one-two punch.We Work Remotely was created by the founders of Basecamp. Because they evangelized remote work through their project management tool, they decided to connect their growing community of remote job seekers with remote-friendly employers. Win-win. Take a chapter from their book, and listen to the needs of your community, and then build a job board for them.

For the generalist job seekers and mainstream job boards of the world, things move pretty slow. However, we’re living in a fast-paced world. Job seekers want more personal fulfilment in their life and are excited to create tangible impact. Employers want to hire passionate and committed employees who can not only do their job well, but exceptionally well.

As you look to build and optimize your next niche job board, think about the people that you’re building for. Understand their goals, desires, and how they fit into the current state of the world and if there’s data to prove it. Stay focused on the heart of why the niche market matters and always build for the person behind the keyboard.

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is the CEO & Founder of Smartjobboard (job board software) who loves to build awesome websites.

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