Written by
May 30, 2017

The labor market is the largest common market on the planet. Almost every single human being throughout recorded history has had to work at some point for someone or some group.

The industry segment commonly referred to as Hiring, Staffing, and Development serves this market by helping employers (you probably guessed it) hire, staff, and develop their employees. It’s also concerned with helping people find jobs but because employers typically pay and the average working person doesn’t, the industry’s attention and resources tend to be spent on the employer side of the equation.

Technology has been a part of this industry since the start from flyers in windows, to newspaper want ads, to the job boards of the 1990s and early 2000s, to today’s LinkedIn/Indeed adverts. The problem, as previously mentioned, is this approach isn’t effective for matching the person with the right capabilities and drive with the right job. The ironic bit is the sign in the window is probably more useful for most companies than the online job advert, especially with things like this applying to jobs with a single ‘click’.

Technology companies adhere to the Pareto Principle (a.k.a. the 80/20 rule: 80% of the market is controlled by 20% of the companies) only more so. In reality, most of the tech industry’s various fields are dominated by a single company: search/advertising = Google, social networking/advertising = Facebook, networking = Cisco, e-commerce/everything = Amazon. This happens because one technology tends to win out over its peers and it creates a network effect that crowds out competition.

“The network effect, explained by a device that no one uses any more. Maybe this would work better as an explanation of irony…”


When it comes to hiring, staffing, and development though there’s been no dominant, winner-take-all company. Linkedin is typically thought of as that company but they have about 2% market share. 2%! In fact, there are over 20,000 companies competing in various parts of this industry. Some are massive, most are not, and none is dominant.

It’s a field ripe for disruption because no single tech has come along that helps companies significantly improve their hiring effectiveness or help hiring managers make better decisions, especially considering most companies still ask for resumes. Nor has a technology come along to help people understand, create, and manage their career paths.

Or at least not one that everyone is aware of yet 😉


“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

William Gibson