Europe’s job sites join together to accuse Google of unfair domination

UK recruitment companies Adzuna and Best Jobs Online are among European job sites that have accused Google of using its power over search to dominate the industry.

In a joint letter to Europe’s competition commissioner, the job sites accuse the US multinational technology company of using its search power “as a lever to dominate yet another online industry”.

The Daily Telegraph reports the letter, which it has seen and relates to Google’s new Google for Jobs feature (launched last year), has been sent to competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and has 23 signatories from European job search sites. 

Google for Jobs sees job adverts appear at the top of online searches in a dedicated Google search box, and although the jobs link through to external websites, the Google box appears above the main websites of the search companies.

While Google does not charge a fee for displaying the searches, the 23 signatories claim the move is a “ploy” to gain marketshare and then change its business model to add paid-for links, adding this represents a “predatory offer”.

Signatories further claim that on mobile devices, Google’s jobs box fills the entire search screen, meaning it now dominates the initial job hunting process and cuts traffic to recruitment websites.

The European Commission, which started a preliminary investigation into Google in October last year, requested information to a number of companies to assess Google’s practices.

While the letter does not represent a formal complaint, some of the firms could file formal action.

When contacted by Recruiter, a Google spokesperson said: “Finding a job can be tough, so we worked with jobs providers to create a better experience on Search. Any provider – from individual employers to job listing platforms – can use this feature in Search, and many of them have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive. Since launch, we’ve made a number of changes to address feedback in Europe.”

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