Niche market no handicap for new golf recruitment website


3 Mar 2004

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Despite the presence of international giants such as Monster and established local players such as Irishjobs, there is still plenty of niche opportunities in online recruitment, one of the entrepreneurs behind a new online recruitment site believes.

Golfjobs.ie is aimed at the UK and Ireland golf sector. Launched in Ireland last week, the site is due to go live in the UK within the next month, according to technical director Fergal Brosnan.

Brosnan, who is also a director of a Cork-based recruitment firm, The Berkeley Group, and a former software engineer at Apple, believes the golfing industry is ready for a dedicated recruitment website – and will benefit greatly from it.

“We talked to a lot of golf clubs in Ireland and cost effective methods of doing recruitment was something people were looking for,” he said.

He added that the cost of placing jobs ads in daily or Sunday newspapers can run into four figures for just one job whereas, with www.golfjobs.ie, €4,500 would cover a golf club’s recruitment needs for a whole year and an individual job placement costs €300.

The first of its kind in Ireland, Golfjobs.ie was established in response to the growing demand for specialist staff to service the expanding golf industry in Ireland, said Brosnan.

“This is not a huge multimillion euro recruitment site. It is niche and focused and serving a market that the ‘big boys’ have not tapped into.”

He and business partner Steve Greenwood, a fellow director at Berkeley, spent two years researching the market and designing the website.

The third shareholder and the one most likely to become the public face of the company is seasoned golf pro and Ryder Cup hero Christy O’Connor Jr. It is not known how much O’Connor has put in the company but it is believed that around €400,000 has already been spent on the venture, mainly in technical development and marketing costs.

“As a golf course designer I appreciate the difficulties in finding the best available talent when staffing a new club. The site is a user friendly, time saving and cost effective website,” said O’Connor.

Brosnan added that Golfjobs is not recruitment consultancy in the strict sense in that no vetting or pre-interviewing of candidates takes place; it is more of an online marketplace – a central point for all employers and golf clubs to pool their marketing power and create an easier way for candidates to find golf related positions from green keepers and ground staff to golf shop assistants and catering staff.

Brosnan said that in the first week 280 jobseekers registered on the site and 33 positions were advertised. In terms of projected business, he hoped that an average of 40 positions could be filled a month via the website. He was confident that the golfing industry – often seen as being the last word in conservatism – would take to the idea of online recruitment.

“Golf clubs are ready to embrace the web but they need convincing that a) it’s secure and b) they’ll get applications from the people they expect,” he noted.

The site also offers recruitment advice for anyone interested in a career in golf with tips from recruitment experts on CV writing, interview skills and for example specialist advice on how to become a green keeper.

There are also links to other golf related sites, The Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland and The PGA European Tour for a continuous update to all the latest news and events. In addition there is a listing of all the major golf clubs in Ireland with their employer details.

The exact value of the golfing industry in Ireland and the UK is not known but it is estimated that the 400-plus golf clubs in the 32 counties employ about 10,000 full-time staff. There are many others indirectly employed through course maintenance firms, golf equipment manufacturers and catering services. In England, Scotland and Wales there are a further 2,500 golf clubs.

By Brian Skelly

Pictured are Andrea Roche and gold pro Christy O’Connor Jr