Job listings - a barometer of activity in the industry?
Thread poster: Anil Gidwani

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:30
German to English
+ ...
Aug 10, 2009

We are all aware that job listings on ProZ and other translation portals represent only a fraction of the contracts in the industry on any given day. Nevertheless, I seem to sense some correlation between the number of jobs offered directly during any given period and the number of listings on ProZ during the same period (I can't speak for other portals since I tend to use them only rarely).

Listings on ProZ appear to increase substantially when the market is abuzz with activity, and conversely, come down when the market is relatively subdued, where by market I mean the number of jobs offered directly by agencies.

I guess many listings on ProZ are:

a) by agencies that cannot find an available translator in their existing pool
b) by agencies that have contacted translators in their pool but also post when they have an urgent job to be filled immediately to ensure timely placement
c) by brand new agencies
d) by existing agencies branching out into new language pairs
e) by individuals wishing to outsource jobs as a one-off event
f) posted simply because it is so convenient to do so in one place and wait for replies
g) for other reasons, of course, that cannot be second-guessed.

Has anyone else seen this same correlation? Can one venture to say that the number of job postings on portals is an indicator of the state of the translation economy, while not exactly being a one-to-one correlation?












[Edited at 2009-08-10 15:44 GMT]


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 18:00
SITE FOUNDER
Interesting question Aug 10, 2009

For reference: A graph of monthly job posting count for ProZ.com's first ten years.



Note that at least half of new client meetings happen as a result of directory searches, instead of job postings.


 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 00:00
French to English
+ ...
How about Kudoz? Aug 10, 2009

Henry,

Can you graph the number of Kudoz questions asked in the same way? I bet it follows the same pattern...

Terry.


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Statistics & Graphs Aug 11, 2009

Great stuff, Henry!

It would be very interesting to see some more statistics and graphs like this on Proz.com activity, especially if they can be easily produced. While Proz.com can by no means represent the entire universe of the industry, at least it is one microcosm, and not so micro any more.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 18:00
SITE FOUNDER
KudoZ usage graphs Aug 12, 2009

Terry Richards wrote:
Can you graph the number of Kudoz questions asked in the same way? I bet it follows the same pattern...

Actually KudoZ is a bit more interesting...

Here is a graph showing number of askers:


Here is a graph showing number of answerers:


Here is a graph showing the number of questions:


You see that the number of askers and answerers has risen fairly steadily over the years, but the number of questions per month dropped and then went flat at the same time a search of the archives was built into the asking form.

As might be expected, search of the KudoZ archive has grown steadily. I don't have a chart on that handy, but roughly speaking, for every person that asks a question nowadays, ten search the archive.


 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:00
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Thank you, Henry. Aug 12, 2009

The trends are interesting.

As for your statement that
... at least half of new client meetings happen as a result of directory searches, instead of job postings.

I think that really depends on what "phase" one's business is in. In 2001-2003 I think most (80%?) of my contacts came through the job postings, because I responded actively and regularly to the interesting ones back then. Now I have little time for that, so well over 90% comes via directory searches or profile contacts through Google. I could call that a strategy, but quite honestly it's just how things turned out.


 

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:30
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A La Index of Leading Economic Indicators Aug 12, 2009

Thanks for these charts, Henry. We often witness forum discussions on the state of the translation economy, which are usually based on the varied and subjective experiences of service providers depending on geography, languages offered and other parameters (and which I confess make for interesting reading). Such discussions are of course attempts by individual service providers to understand the market and its direction. Charts like the one you've shown are another way to view trends without getting subjective.

Translation is undoubtedly under the radar of most governments, and probably not even measured as an independently classified service. Such measurements can be quite instructive for all of us, needless to say. While seeming to go overboard on the concept, it may even be possible to draw up an index on the lines of the index of leading economic indicators!

Some of its components could be:

1. Average weekly jobs offered by language pair
2. Average number of KudoZ questions by language pair
3. Number of new outsourcers (by language pair?)
4. Number of new service providers by language pair
5. Number of new ProZ Connect jobs by language pair
6. Service provider expectations etc.

loosely modeled on the definition of the ILEI (source: wikipedia).

Sounds far fetched, I bet, and would be quite difficult to measure and update, but the figures could turn out to be interesting!


 


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