Facebook is getting into a new type of networking.
The social media giant said this week that it is rolling out new features in the US and Canada to let businesses post job openings, and prospective workers find and apply to them through Facebook. “This new experience will help businesses find qualified people where they’re already spending their time—on Facebook and on mobile,” the company said in a blog post.
The system Facebook debuted on Feb. 15 aims to minimize hassle for job-seekers and employers, while also giving both more reasons to use Facebook products. Businesses will be able to post jobs and track applications directly from a company Facebook page, as well as communicate with applicants through Facebook Messenger. They can also pay Facebook to promote their job listings to a wider audience.
Job-seekers will see posts in their news feed and integrated with other posts on business pages. They’ll also be able to check “Jobs on Facebook,” a designated landing page for job listings, pegged to location and sortable by industry (e.g., “real estate,” “restaurant/cafe,” “education”) and job type (e.g., “full-time,” “internship,” “volunteer”).
Already, warning cries are being issued for LinkedIn, (which ironically just underwent a redesign that makes it look a lot more like Facebook). As the chief player in the online-networking space, it’s true that LinkedIn could be in for some trouble. But such comparisons also miss a bigger point: Facebook is going after a different and much more significant job market.
Next, there’s the matter of demographics. LinkedIn caters to the mid- to high-skilled job market. Its basic platform is free, but 17% of revenue comes from selling “premium” subscriptions that range from $25 to $100 a month. The site also features ”influencers,” who are typically successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs—for example, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Arianna Huffington.
Per a November 2016 report from Pew Research Center, 50% of Americans with a college degree or higher used LinkedIn from March to April 2016, compared with just 12% who had a high school degree or less. Forty-five percent of people earning at least $75,000 a year were on the site, versus 21% of those who make less than $30,000.
Facebook, with its mission of “connecting the world,” has appealed to a broader audience. The same Pew report found that Facebook was used by 77% to 82% of Americans of all education levels. Facebook was also used by at least 75% of US adults in every income bracket, and most popular among the lowest earners.
When it comes to matching employers with job seekers, this means Facebook has a much bigger space to play in. Facebook’s users include LinkedIn’s “thought leaders” and white-collar professionals, but they’re also people seeking hourly positions, part-time work, and other opportunities that they’d probably find on sites like Monster, Indeed, or Craigslist long before LinkedIn. Facebook’s job listings for the New York metro area currently include apprentice fitness coach, salon assistant, and professional valet driver.
“We’re taking the work out of hiring by enabling job applications directly on Facebook,” Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s VP of business and platform, said in a statement. “It’s early days but we’re excited to see how people use this simple tool to get the job they want and for businesses to get the help they need.”
For Facebook, that’s a huge opportunity. For LinkedIn, it was only ever a missed one.