Jan Michael Acebo| Investmentunderground

Listen carefully, Class of 2013. There are a lot of things to look forward to after graduation. No, it’s not enrolling in a Graduate Program as the prospects of employment are bleak. You will be surprised to know that there is an uptick in the job environment despite contrary reports. The Morgan Stanley Business Condition Index for December 2012 pointed to an overall bullish signal for employment in general. The headline index increased by 51% for the month, erasing the previous 20 point slide experienced in the last two months. The decline in the previous month is due to the elevated uncertainties surrounding the fiscal cliff concerns. Excluding the fiscal cliff concerns, economists all agree that the economy is on a path of recovery with corporate earnings growth, supportive monetary policies and positive consumer sentiment.

While there is still overhang in the fiscal cliff issues, it should not deter small and medium sized (SME) enterprises to ramp up their employment plans as economic conditions strengthen. According to Reuters, the National Federation of Independent Business said that net change in December 2012 employment per firm increased by 0.03 after slipping 0.04 in the previous month. There were job gains in manufacturing, transportation, professional services, finance, insurance and real estate.

The firm also conducted a survey of small business owners to confirm that they did indeed add workers over the last few months. This is a good sign as there will be more opportunities to find opportunities in the SME’s. Hiring has been sluggish in the big corporate market.

In the U.K., SMEs are also expected to grow their businesses in 2013. There are surveys circulating in the region pointing out that SME’s are ready to hire this year.

Changing Employment Landscape 

The employment landscape has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Potential applicants need not knock on employer’s doors and submit employment and school credentials. With the proliferation of job sites, potential applicants can browse through the available job postings and submit their resume online.

This has been very beneficial for the job seeker as it saves a lot of time, money and effort. Millions of job seekers prefer this method. More companies prefer to post their requirements online rather than through traditional media such as school boards and newspapers.

The influx of online job seekers can be daunting for SME’s. First, it entails additional costs of hiring people to manage the entire employment process. Second, missing top-tiered candidates will have a long-term opportunity cost for the business. Third, it is expensive to outsource and maintain headhunters who could do the job for the business. With meager profits, every penny count for these businesses as excess cash flow could be used to expand the business.

Cloud Recruiting: Disruptive Innovation in the Employment Landscape

Many of us are already familiar with cloud computing. This is basically virtual servers available over the Internet, which offers services from full-blown applications to storage services. This could be software-as-a-service (SAAS), where cloud computing delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers using a common architecture. A good example from this service type is Google Apps. Another type of cloud computing is utility computing, where clients mainly use the service for supplemental and non-critical needs.

How does this relate to the employment scene? There is a growing trend towards the marriage of cloud computing and employment services. The idea behind cloud software is that the Internet is your computer and you can access it anywhere at any time. With this setup, cloud software for employment will simplify and enhance the hiring process, while maximizing staff output and reducing costs.

This setup gives clients a huge advantage and increases management efficiency as they have all the data they need instead of having to manually retrieve the information from the individual system.

One company operating in this space is Hiring Thing. Based in Oregon, the company received $1 million in funding to pursue this niche. Investors include Babcock & Jenkins, John & Jeff Crowe and the founders of SurveyMonkey, Ryan and Chris Finley. Joshua Siler founded the company in March 2012.

HiringThing offers easy to use online software that helps companies post jobs online, manage resumes and hire employees. The company is targeting SME’s and has partnered with job board providers. Clients can easily manage applications online. Its pricing appears attractive and would likely translate into savings for SME’s in the long run.

There are many competitors in the space, including iRecruit and Arithon. Industry experts believe that the growth in cloud computing will continue into 2013. Many experts are predicting that cloud storage services will become commonplace with the general public. As connectivity becomes popular, more people will be using online storage to store important files for both personal and work-related use.

As processes become increasingly complex, Big Data will definitely be the name of the game over time. There is also a significant demand for cost-effective tools, reliability and security. I would not be surprised if an increasing number of SMEs turn to cloud computing to meet their hiring demands.

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