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Job seekers prefer newspaper ads (ST 12 Oct)

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Oct 12, 2009

Job seekers prefer newspaper ads
They find newspapers have more job ads, are up to date and are easier to search

By Jessica Cheam

A RECENT survey of Singapore’s workforce has found that the newspaper medium is still the top choice for job seekers.

Despite the well-documented mass migration globally to the online world, the printed word still remains attractive for many job seekers, the survey found.

The poll, of 1,018 people aged 15 to 59, found 83 per cent of the workforce prefer newspapers if they are seeking a job.

This compares with 55 per cent for word of mouth or referrals, and 53 per cent for the Internet. (Respondents could give more than one preference – so the figures add up to more than 100 per cent.)

About 21 per cent prefer to use resources such as employment agencies, and about 20 per cent each are likely to use career fairs and government job centres.

The face-to-face survey, conducted by Singapore Press Holdings in January and February, also revealed that 37 per cent of respondents see newspapers as the most effective job search source.

This was the highest, followed by word of mouth or referrals (30 per cent). In contrast, only 14 per cent said the Internet was most effective, followed by 6 per cent for employment agencies. Other options include career fairs, government job centres and head hunters.

Among those surveyed, the top reason for choosing newspapers is being able to get a newspaper easily. Other reasons: Newspapers had more jobs advertised, were up to date and easier to search.

Recruitment firm Kelly Services said job seekers prefer newspapers recruitment pages as they have more ads than those online, and they also make for easier reading.

‘Online job ads assume that everyone has a computer, or knows how to navigate the myriad websites, but this may not be a convenient medium, especially for older job seekers who still rely on the traditional print medium,’ said the firm’s senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific, Mr Dhirendra Shantilal.

Kelly Services noted that job seekers in different age groups and industries search for job opportunities using various channels.

For example, the IT-savvy Generation Y (aged 17 to 29) makes up the majority of users of online portals, while Generation X (aged 30 to 45) and Baby Boomers (aged 46 to 65) continue to use traditional platforms such as newspapers and job referrals, said Mr Shantilal.

In this survey, The Straits Times was found to be the top newspaper used for job searches at 60 per cent, followed by Lianhe Zaobao at 7 per cent and The New Paper at 4 per cent.

Robert Walters division manager Andree Mangels explained why newspapers are still preferred by clients for job postings: ‘It sends a signal that you’re serious about hiring because it costs more in a newspaper than online.’

Junior candidates often use online portals but senior candidates are more likely to turn to headhunters or apply directly via a job ad in the newspaper. This is also for security purposes, as candidates do not want their resumes floating about in cyberspace, he added.

In the recent downturn, however, more ads have gone online as firms cut costs, but ads are likely to return to newspapers as the economy recovers, he said.

SPH executive vice-president of CATS Classified Elsie Chua admits that ‘like all other media, we were affected by the downturn’. ‘But for employers who are still hiring despite the downturn, we have remained the medium of choice because we are able to consistently deliver a wide base of quality candidates to suit recruiters’ varied hiring needs,’ she said.

For example, a colour ad by RBS Coutts two weeks ago attracted about 500 applications. A similar one in Hong Kong attracted 200, she said.

In the future, however, newspapers face the challenge of remaining relevant to job seekers and employers, said Mr Mangels.

In the European and American markets, for example, newspapers no longer play a big role in job ads, he said. But this has not happened in Asia, particularly in Singapore.

‘I think the whole package of a newspaper is still attractive because it also captures passive job seekers who may look at ads when they read newspapers,’ he said.

Generally, the quantity and quality of candidates from newspaper job ads tend to be higher, he noted.

Mr David Lim, 49, is one job seeker who has stuck to newspapers after leaving his IT job last year.

‘It is a lot more comprehensive than looking on the Internet as all the ads are in one place. I use online portals only to supplement my main job search,’ he said.

The SPH survey is conducted twice a year and tracks changes in the profile of job seekers, their job satisfaction levels and media usage.


‘It is a lot more comprehensive than looking on the Internet as all the ads are in one place. I use online portals only to supplement my main job search.’

Mr David Lim, 49, who has been going through newspapers to look for a job after leaving his IT job last year

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2 Responses to “Job seekers prefer newspaper ads (ST 12 Oct)”

  1. Parka says:

    If this is so, I think there’s a great opportunity for online job websites.

  2. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful info specifically the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

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