7/19/2010   © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs
A SIMPLE SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS
OF AUSTRALIAN IT AGENCIES
PURPOSE OF THIS ANALYSIS




                                   7/19/2010
The purpose of this analysis is
exploratory to s...
WHAT IS THE CURRENT THINKING ON THE VALUE OF JOB AGENCIES
AND JOB BOARDS.
A QUOTE FROM DAVID AUTOR – ‘THE ECONOMICS OF LAB...
WHAT WOULD MAKE A HIGH VALUE
AGENCY FOR JOB SEEKER




                                                         7/19/2010
...
A GRAPHICAL VIEW OF THE LINKS BETWEEN
AUSTRALIAN IT EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES




                                              ...
CAVEATS ON THIS ANALYSIS
 This data was collected by taking the top 100 links from Google when searching IT
 Job Agencies ...
REMOVE LOW VALUE CASES
                     If you remove the sites with




                                             ...
OUTBOUND LINKS
                 Agencies with a high level




                                                 7/19/2010
...
AGENCIES WITH A HIGH NUMBER OF
INBOUND LINKS




                                                  7/19/2010
             ...
A LITTLE BIT OF DETAIL                        The Top 10 Betweenness




                                                 ...
MORE DETAIL CONTINUED              The Top 10 Eigenvector
                                   Closeness




               ...
MORE DETAIL CONTINUED




                                                                  7/19/2010
                    ...
MORE DETAIL CONTINUED
 At the other end of the spectrum these agencies only have single inward links,




                ...
MORE DETAIL CONTINUED
    These 3 sites which came in at 219, 220, and 221st in the eigenvector




                      ...
WHAT DOES THIS SHOW ABOUT THE
EXISTING MODELS OF BUSINESS
There is no single predominant marketplace for IT Contractors or...
A SHORT DISCUSSION OF THE
CONSEQUENCES OF THIS MODEL.




                                                                ...
HOW COULD THIS MODEL BE IMPROVED




                                                                             7/19/201...
WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN




                                                                         7/19/2010
 Very litt...
A POSSIBLE ROLE FOR THE ACS




                                                                     7/19/2010
   For IT ...
A SLIGHT DETOUR ON QUALIFICATIONS




                                                                               7/19/...
PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU THINK I
HAVE GOT THIS ALL WRONG




                                                       7/19/...
WHAT CAN SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS
BE USED FOR.




                                                             7/19/2010
I...
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A Social Network Analysis Of Australian It Agencies 20100720

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This is a simple analysis of the role of IT Job Agencies and Job Boards in Australia

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A Social Network Analysis Of Australian It Agencies 20100720

  1. 1. 7/19/2010 © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs A SIMPLE SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS OF AUSTRALIAN IT AGENCIES
  2. 2. PURPOSE OF THIS ANALYSIS 7/19/2010 The purpose of this analysis is exploratory to see what insight a Social Network Analysis of sites generated © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs from seeding 100 IT Agencies into a Webcrawler (VOSON). I am primarily interested in looking at relationships between agencies in terms of what value it gives to the IT position seeker (job or contractor) and the client seeking to fill a position. The Webcrawler came back with over 17000 web links spread out over agencies in several countries. The Social Network graph for that dataset is on the right.
  3. 3. WHAT IS THE CURRENT THINKING ON THE VALUE OF JOB AGENCIES AND JOB BOARDS. A QUOTE FROM DAVID AUTOR – ‘THE ECONOMICS OF LABOUR MARKET INTERMEDIATION’ 7/20/2010  His Research Question  ‘Labour market intermediaries have been around in various guises for centuries, as labour unions, craft guilds, and occupational licensing boards. But they have also gained prominence in contemporary incarnations as temporary help agencies, Internet job search boards, and centralised job-matching institutions Tibballs © Copyright is held by the author Russell like the ‘medical match’ that allocates physicians completing medical school to medical residencies. The venerable history and continued re-emergence of intermediaries in various forms raises the question: what precise economic function do these institutions serve? And are they likely to improve labour market operation or merely tax it?’  His Conclusion  ‘Despite widely heralded advances in the technology of job matching, I anticipate that labour market intermediaries will continue to address, ameliorate, and exploit the imperfect environment in which workers and employers interact.’  What David is saying – is the intermediary (job agency and job board) offers a valuable service; however they will also milk the system for all it is worth.  http://www.voxeu.com/index.php?q=node/2500
  4. 4. WHAT WOULD MAKE A HIGH VALUE AGENCY FOR JOB SEEKER 7/19/2010 In theory the highest value for a individual job or contract seeker would come from an agency that had the highest networking characteristics for their © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs industry . This would be characterised by a large number of inward and outward links from other agencies sites or a central role in the network indicating access to a wider and more reliable view of the job or contract market. This is in theory also true to the client seeking to fill a position who is best served by a near transparent market where the those seeking and those hiring know well the market characteristics and movements. At present I do not believe this is not the case.
  5. 5. A GRAPHICAL VIEW OF THE LINKS BETWEEN AUSTRALIAN IT EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES 7/19/2010 This graph shows the existing network that © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs exists between IT Job Agencies using the cleaned data.The larger disks on this graph represent the agencies that have the largest numbers of links to other agencies.
  6. 6. CAVEATS ON THIS ANALYSIS This data was collected by taking the top 100 links from Google when searching IT Job Agencies and I created a seed list to pass to VOSON which went out to each of 7/19/2010 those seed sites and traversed the site searching for external links. Those external sites are then traversed in turn looking for external sites, and so on. This process took several days searching for links and then following those links before I had the completed list. Due to the nature of this data collection process it © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs cannot be considered comprehensive; however it does give an indication to the overall networking tendency for the industry. The method used is a variation of what is described as a Snowball survey. You find a target and see what is linked to that and then what that is linked to, and so on for each of the 100 selected links for job agencies from a Google search. This is neither random selection, nor a complete population study of agents in the industry. The data was collected in January of this year using VOSON to collect the data which was downloaded into a excel spreadsheet where irrelevant links were manually removed, then links were reduced to the Australian domains only. I did not manually check each site; however I removed anything obvious. This final dataset was fed into NodeXL for all further analysis. Any economic analysis provided is based on my 1 ½ years of Study at ANU 25 years ago. However, reform of any industry is usually aimed at making the market more transparent and responsive to market needs. And usually when a market has a large number of middlemen and intermediary markets, the industry is lacking in efficiency and increasing the cost and burden to buyer and seller accordingly. I believe that level of economic analysis will stand.
  7. 7. REMOVE LOW VALUE CASES If you remove the sites with 7/19/2010 low numbers of external links in and out , you are left with a very small Tibballs © Copyright is held by the author Russell number of sites. In this example I remove sites which had less than 5 inbound external links. I recognise many of these sites such as Seek, Hays, Jobsearch, and Jobserve. However I was surprised by employment.byron.com.au whom I had not heard of previously. The Department of Immigration would be reference site for overseas applicants.
  8. 8. OUTBOUND LINKS Agencies with a high level 7/19/2010 of outbound web links indicates a model that allows the Job/contract © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs seeker to view position vacant advertising and a link to the associated agent. In almost all cases the same job will advertised by multiple agents although it is sometimes difficult for the viewer to identify that easily. Almost all the sites shown have links to a list of associated agencies that use the service.
  9. 9. AGENCIES WITH A HIGH NUMBER OF INBOUND LINKS 7/19/2010 These agencies have a high number of © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs incoming links from other sites. This suggests that the industry sees value in linking to them. This may be because they are seen as providing an effective market place for service seekers.
  10. 10. A LITTLE BIT OF DETAIL The Top 10 Betweenness 7/19/2010  One measure of how well these Centrality sites are fulfilling this function would be their ‘closeness’; ie what hays.com.au proportion of other sites can be jobsearch.gov.au © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs reached in one step from the market employment.byron.com.au (Seek, Jobserve, etc). In each case it seek.com.au approached 0.001 or in simple terms careersonline.com.au the self proclaimed markets only mycareer.com.au link to less than 1% of possible sites. jobsjobsjobs.com.au Seek however does have a jobserve.com.au ‘betweenness centrality’ of peoplebank.com.au 68200.153 , which indicates the site ipa.com.au has many ties giving position seekers and position fillers In this analysis, these sites appear to reasonable value and is quite provide the job seeker access to more central to this marketplace. This is of the market. good for seek, however Hays came out with ‘betweenness centrality’ of 102588.576.
  11. 11. MORE DETAIL CONTINUED The Top 10 Eigenvector Closeness 7/19/2010  Another measure of value to the network is Eigenvector employment.byron.com.a Closeness that identifies the u © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs hays.com.au most central actors in the jobsearch.gov.au network. careersonline.com.au  In this case seek.com.au employment.byron.com.au jobserve.com.au jobsjobsjobs.com.au takes 1st position and swaps peoplebank.com.au with Hays which moves to 2nd, mycareer.com.au and IPA drops out (to diversiti.com.au eleventh) and diverisiti rises In this analysis, these sites appear to from 11th position to 10th provide the job seeker access to more position on the chart. of the market
  12. 12. MORE DETAIL CONTINUED 7/19/2010 © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs The Sub Graph for The Sub Graph for The Sub Graph for Hays employment.byron.com.a Seek u
  13. 13. MORE DETAIL CONTINUED At the other end of the spectrum these agencies only have single inward links, 7/19/2010 indicating very low value within the market. It should be noted that both these sites are rated as having the lowest eigenvector and betweenness values out of over 550 sites. These sites are probably not getting a lot of attention or effort put into them and probably offer little to the position/job seeker or the client seeking © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs to fill a position.
  14. 14. MORE DETAIL CONTINUED These 3 sites which came in at 219, 220, and 221st in the eigenvector 7/19/2010 analysis show the more normal means that agencies arange there business model. Note site is the red dot in each sub graph. In each case the site is linked to high value sites that have many inward © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs links. fentonconsult.com.au locher.com.au townsvilleonline.com.au
  15. 15. WHAT DOES THIS SHOW ABOUT THE EXISTING MODELS OF BUSINESS There is no single predominant marketplace for IT Contractors or Job Seekers (and all other job placement marketplaces in Australia). There are a number of 7/19/2010 central sites that the seeker can use to find jobs of interest and link to the agent advertising the job to apply. The dominant model is the small site with links to and from larger sites such as Jobserve, Seek, Hays etc. The 3 examples on the previous slide demonstrate this approach. Many of these sites would specialize in © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs a particular form of resources; ie Microsoft, IT Project Management, Testing, etc. This reinforces my current view of the market. It is set up for the convenience of the Job Agencies not the Job/Contract Seeker. This model limits the users view of the total market and the prices being paid. It requires the applicant to reveal all and the Agency to reveal a little as it can get away with. This is not a very transparent market for the job/contract applicant. An efficient market in economic terms is transparent where both sides know the prices offered and accepted. In this market, neither side is truly aware of the prices, only the middle man who is dealing with the particular transaction does knows the price and demand. Worse for the applicant, the agents description of the position and the skills required for the position are often confused or miss interpreted leaving the applicant at the mercy of those with the least knowledge of the actual requirement.
  16. 16. A SHORT DISCUSSION OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS MODEL. 7/19/2010 A transparent market would have problems for agencies as the individual contractors and target clients would see and be able to evaluate value in a crowded market. It is also difficult to see why larger clients use this method of recruitment as it © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs raises the cost of employment anywhere between 10% and 40%. I believe that this model applies to the job placement industry in general and the issues are the same. It can be claimed that Seek and other similar sites are there to fulfill the need of the marketplace. However there are some striking drawbacks that make this difficult. First of all this market is designed to give the agencies the advantage, ie it favors the middleman. Second the same job is often put forward by multiple agencies and often with very dissimilar descriptions. Thirdly the contractor or job applicant has no idea if they have actually been put forward. They are told they are being put forward however there is no transparency, they have no idea of what the final rate is or whether the agent has just collected resumes and gone on holidays. It is not unknown for agencies to advertise positions that don’t exist for the sole purpose of adding more resumes to their port folios.
  17. 17. HOW COULD THIS MODEL BE IMPROVED 7/19/2010  Possible answers from the recruiting side.  A market with industry certified only applicants. This would assume a market where the only applicants are endorsed by a professional body like the ACS, Microsoft, etc. © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs  Improve the existing markets so that it is easier to see the entrants and costs being applied.  Possibly both.  Possible answers from the applicant side  Greater transparency to allow the applicant to see what the rates are for particular skills and roles, and what the margins are.  Greater transparency to allow the applicant know which exactly role they have applied for. Many recruiters(the end employer) provide job/position identifiers; this should be standard in all job ads.  More contractors/applicants should consider ACS or industry certification so it is easier for the industry to see the level of qualification.  These change
  18. 18. WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN 7/19/2010 Very little or no change is likely as the marketplace appears to be happy to continue on its merry way. IT Contractors are by nature very individualist having often left continuous employment to © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs allow themselves greater latitude in their approach to work and employment. They want to go their own way and are not really interested in pooling their shared strength to change the marketplace, and equally there is little incentive for agencies to change this. The shear number of agencies to the numbers IT contractors indicates the level of profit is high enough to attract an unusual high number of players into this group. The only group with a large amount to gain and possibly the incentive are the larger employers such as the various public agencies, and larger corporates. This group could potentially could make significant saving by forcing efficiencies on the agencies, and only then would I foresee any change to existing practices.
  19. 19. A POSSIBLE ROLE FOR THE ACS 7/19/2010  For IT position seekers and potential employers, considerable advantage could be © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs gained by pushing for the use of a single marketplace where there was greater transparency that was operated in their interests. If this market place was operated by a ACS.org.au group such as the ACS At present the ACS site rates at there would be greater 48th position of importance as credence to job measured by betweenness and qualification and the 49th position for eigenvector ability of the those in centrality. It is a site of the industry to gain a importance, however it has a clearer view of the long way go before grabbing 1st prices to both sides. place. However, does the ACS believe it is in their charter to pursue this?
  20. 20. A SLIGHT DETOUR ON QUALIFICATIONS 7/19/2010 If you go back 25 years the number of different skill sets available in the industry was substantially less confusing. I don’t know that there were less technical environments or a lower number of tools and complexity. I think employers were more inclined to employee someone with the © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs academic qualifications and accept that they would have the ability to do the job given a little time. Vendors have since seized on, and created a market for certified professionals that appears to have superseded university and TAFE qualifications, and has narrowed the application of existing skill sets. If employers want the number of IT graduates from universities to increase the value of that qualification needs to increase. Why spend $24,000 to $30,000 and 3-4 years of your life getting an IT qualification when you can go to India and spend $4000 and 3 weeks or less of your life getting a guaranteed vendor Certification, all the while staying in a 4 Star hotel and when you finish you quite possibly get work as easily as the graduate. An Accounting Graduate with CPA qualifications does a lot better than the IT Graduate with ACS qualifications. Can employers expect this level of qualification if they don’t recognise its value by rewarding this level of achievement.
  21. 21. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU THINK I HAVE GOT THIS ALL WRONG 7/19/2010  Although the data was collected sometime ago, this slideshow was put together over the weekend to try to encourage some discussion on this © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs subject. Like almost all subjects there isn’t a wrong opinion, however I prefer that there is some evidence provided when any discussion starts to base an assertions or analysis on. I am happy to go over my methodology with anyone interested.  Remember this is not a full population study or even based on a random sample; so the results need to be treated with care.
  22. 22. WHAT CAN SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS BE USED FOR. 7/19/2010 I have been studying Research of the Internet for a Masters course at ADSRI ANU. A component of this was Social Network Analysis, which in turn can be © Copyright is held by the author Russell Tibballs studied as part of the Master course Research of the Internet. Social Network Analysis can be used for analysing relationships between entities, whether they individuals, groups, and organisations. Things that we have used it for in these studies include email, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Weblinks, Blog, and voting cliques for the Eurovision song contest, also I have applied this to immigration movements and and data analysis. This is something I enjoy, so if you have something you would like me to look at, let me know and we can discuss it.

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