The latest HR technology deal currently making headlines is the acquisition of Glassdoor, the job board and recruiting platform specializing in sharing employee feedback. Glassdoor has become a unique resource for both employees and employers in that it provides the traditional job board as well as anonymous, yet transparent, feedback on the employee experience. Glassdoor was founded about a decade ago and estimates it is used by 59 million people monthly. The company has amassed 40 million reviews on 770,000 companies across 190 countries. The company was acquired by Recruit Holdings for $1.2bn in cash. Recruit is a ~$20bn Japan-based company that is primarily focused on staffing and HR technology. Recruit has been highly active building out its HR-focused technology suite in recent years, as reflected by its other acquisitions in the space including Simply Hired and Indeed. In the HR space unrelated to technology, it has acquired companies such as USG People, Advantage Resourcing and Staffmark, among others.
The Glassdoor acquisition is of note for several reasons: First, it underlines the recent M&A surge we have seen across the employee engagement and broader HR tech space. Shifting generational and cultural dynamics have made measuring, understanding and driving the employee experience a C-suite priority. We would not be surprised to see further acceleration and investment in these types of products/offerings. Second, and in line with Clearsight’s core thesis around convergence of technology, services, and data in various functional areas, we see another commitment to building out a hybrid offering that enhances a legacy staffing service with innovative front-end technology.
If these points sound familiar, the transaction echoes Randstad’s August 2016 acquisition of Monster Worldwide. This was another instance of a large international staffing conglomerate acquiring a North American B2C job posting/employee engagement technology platform. The larger theme that cannot be ignored here is the continued disruption caused by the impact of younger generations that now not only are entering the workforce, but are now the largest generation in the US labor force (35%). Given the unique and relatively new demands these younger workers are placing on organizations, we expect the landscape for HR technology and services to adapt. Understanding how to align top talent with jobs that match their passions, priorities and skill sets will be key to success in the new HR and staffing frontier.