Can Facebook lower unemployment?
If Facebook has its way, millions of Americans may soon be updating the employment section of their profiles. The social networking behemoth announced Thursday that it will partner with the Department of Labor on an initiative called the "Social Jobs Partnership," which is designed to make jobs resources more readily accessible, help Americans "land good jobs," and ultimately lower the country's 9.1 percent unemployment rate. Will it work?
What is it?
The crux of the Social Jobs Partnership is a web page hosted on Facebook that aggregates various job service and placement sites in a central location. This includes resources from the Department of Labor, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and DirectEmployers — organizations that offer services like job training, job-search databases, and recruiting information. "Think of this as a free, online job fair that can be accessed seven days a week, day or night," says Facebook's global policy vice president, Marne Levine. Currently, the page has over 7,500 likes on Facebook.
What's planned for the partnership?
Facebook will launch a series of public service announcements that will promote the page and its resources in 10 states with the highest rates of unemployment, says Emil Protalinski at ZD Net. The initiative also plans to commission a study that will "research the ways in which job seekers, college career centers, and workforce recruiters are using the social web" — and then use that information to better its site. According to Laura Locke at CNET, Facebook is also considering including free job postings as part of the effort. "Watch out, Craigslist?"
Should LinkedIn be worried?
The news of the Social Jobs Partnership comes days after BranchOut, a Facebook recruiting app, announced the launch of a new tool called RecruiterConnect, aka "LinkedIn for Facebook." It allows users to search companies and see not only what friends work there, but what friends of friends work there, exponentially expanding a person's professional connections, says Leena Rao at Tech Crunch. RecruiterConnect will also help recruiters accurately match candidates with available positions using the work history, professional experience, and connections listed on a person's Facebook profile. These initiatives may seem like a threat to LinkedIn, but LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner believes users still prefer to keep their personal and professional lives separate. "While many of us in college probably were at parties having a good time, doing things like keg stands, or being exposed to keg stands," Weiner said a year ago, "I don't know that many of us would look forward to having a prospective employer have access to pictures of those events."
Will this work?
More than 90 percent of employers have used social networks to recruit new talent, says Portfolio. With Facebook making that endeavor easier with this new site, that number should only increase. Bonus: "Advertisers should love it." While the initiative is "undeniably admirable," says Locke, it doesn't fix the biggest problem facing the unemployed: Job creation.