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Bdjobs Launches Pro Subscription Service, Bdjobs' Strategic Motivation

Bdjobs, the largest online job portal in Bangladesh, has launched a new premium subscription service called "Bdjobs Pro" to give job seekers access to exclusive tools, insights, and features to improve their job search process and career prospects. 

The move comes as the leader in the online job portal market seeks to transform itself with the changing market realities and will have a lasting impact on Bdjobs' strategic direction as well as on the overall job platform market in Bangladesh. More on that in a bit. First, an overview of the Bdjobs Pro

A Three-Tiered Offering

Bdjobs Pro is being offered in three different pricing tiers—Basic, Standard, and Premium—to allow job seekers to pick the plan that best fits their needs and budget.

The Basic plan starts at just 99 BDT (~$1 USD) per month and the Standard plan is priced at 149 BDT. 

The company continues to offer a free plan but free users are restricted in how many jobs they can apply to and will have limited access to other features. Paid plans overcome these limitations. Additionally, the paid plans come with application boosting for better visibility, application insights into why an applicant failed or succeeded, an option to send direct messages to employers, see career matching scores when applying for a job, an option to upload video CV, see profile view by employers, see job details after deadline, view who shortlisted a candidate, access to career counseling and other growing supports. 

The pricing between basic and standard plans basically limits the scope of these various features one can access. 

The final tier called Premium, which is priced at 199 BDT, unlocks the full suite of Bdjobs Pro features without any arbitrary limit.

As we mentioned earlier, the company still has a free tier with valuable functionalities and access to all its meaningful features. 

The paid plans offer a bundle of new features aimed at seriously enhancing one's job seeking experience and chances of getting their desired role.

Addressing Job Seeker Needs

The various features and benefits included in Bdjobs Pro directly tackle some of the growing pain points and uncertainties that job seekers face in Bangladesh's competitive market:

  • Uncertainty over their application status and how they compare to other candidates
  • Inability to directly engage with employers and pitch themselves
  • Lack of expert career guidance and coaching 
  • Questions around which roles they are best suited for

By rolling visibility into other applicants, shortlisting status, matching scores against roles, video resume functionality, and career counseling access into Bdjobs Pro, the company is comprehensively addressing these chronic issues for job seekers.

In doing so, Bdjobs further solidifies its position as the go-to platform for recruitment in Bangladesh beyond just being a basic job listing board. 

With the change, the company is staking out a much deeper value proposition focused on truly enabling and empowering the entire job-seeking experience for its customers.

Bundling for Job Seekers

The concept of bundling add-on products and services is a well-established strategy in many industries, from streaming services to publications to software. Companies bundle offerings together, often at different pricing tiers, to allow customers to pay more for additional features that are valuable to them.

For example, streaming services like Netflix have ad-supported basic tiers coupled with more expensive ad-free options unlocking higher resolutions, offline viewing, etc. Publications put up paywalls for premium content. Software companies offer pro/enterprise versions of their products with advanced functionality.

This bundling approach monetizes a company's existing assets and relationship with customers by packaging additional value-added services. It creates new revenue streams, increases switching costs, and cements the company's positioning as the go-to platform for that market vertical.

Bdjobs is doing something very similar with Bdjobs Pro, its newly launched subscription bundle targeted at job seekers actively looking for employment in Bangladesh. By packaging together various premium tools and services supporting job search and career development, Bdjobs has created an interesting proposition for its most engaged users. 

A Consequential Strategic Shift 

The job market in Bangladesh has been going through consequential changes. Continuous skills development and career guidance are increasingly becoming important for job seekers. In a competitive job market, standing out as a candidate is crucial. 

Similarly, the online job portal market has been going through major changes. Compared to when BDjobs started almost two decades ago, today it is a completely different market, a mature and competitive market. Online job posting has gone from an anomaly to a norm. Many new platforms are now offering job posting solutions. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have become important destinations for job postings. The needs in the market have evolved. 

BDjobs originally started by offering job posting as a service, a value proposition that alone is no longer tenable. To address these evolving changes, BDjobs has been making a series of major changes on both ends of its marketplace—employers and job seekers. It has introduced a growing number of features for employers to simplify recruitment. Today, job posting is only one of the values it offers, it provides a comprehensive recruitment solution to the employers. 

With the recent launch of BDjobs Pro, the company offers a hint into how it plans to transform its platform for job seekers. It no longer wants to remain a passive platform where job seekers go to upload their CVs and apply for jobs. Rather it aims to become a career platform for job seekers. 

Until now, BDjobs offered its services to job seekers for free. It only charged employers for job posting and using its platform and tools to manage recruitment. With the launch of Pro, it turns the entire model on its head. The launch of Pro is a consequential strategic decision for the company. It changes the nature of the platform for job seekers and its future direction as a company. This will also change its value proposition to employers. 

There are several layers to this change. On one level, the change allows BDjobs to monetize both ends of its platform, which is perhaps the most innocent aspect of the change. Similarly, it also means that it is no longer looking to monetize on the basis of the scale of users. Albeit its free tier remains significant to keep almost all of its existing users active, the new changes suggest the company seeks to benefit more serious users aka job seekers. If this happens, it will help the platform to get to its next level where it becomes a career platform. Similarly, more employers will turn to BDjobs for serious candidates. 

It is also a major business model change. BDjobs predominantly made money from job posting and advertising but now it looks to play a SaaS game on both ends of its platform. This will have many implications going forward. As we mentioned earlier, it will help BDjobs attract more serious job seekers thus helping companies attract better candidates through the platform, a complaint many employers have against BDjobs. After years of pursuing scale, with the move BDjobs now inverts the pyramid and looks to focus on matching scale with quality. 

Bdjobs has long been the dominant player in the space. But being a dominant player doesn't insulate you from the market changes. Job portal markets have grown particularly noisy with many different plays over the last three to four years. 

By rolling out a subscription-based premium offering, Bdjobs is effectively increasing switching costs and defensibility. It creates semi-permeable differentiation where free users may readily switch between platforms, but paid subscribers derive unique value from Bdjobs' proprietary tools that they'd be loath to give up. It will allow BDjobs to finance more ambitious initiatives to better serve job seekers in a job market that is changing rapidly. 

It's a smart move—building out complementary SaaS subscription revenue streams to go beyond just hosting supply and demand on a platform.

The Bottom Line

Bdjobs Pro represents a compelling new value proposition aimed at better serving the needs of Bangladesh's job seekers. By packaging together various premium tools and services supporting the entire job search process, Bdjobs is seeking to comprehensively address key user pain points around visibility, engagement, and guidance.

In doing so, Bdjobs is steadily evolving from a mere job listing portal to a full-fledged career platform monetizing through new subscription revenue streams. This can help fortify the company's dominant market position, increase user stickiness, and unlock promising new growth avenues.

But the move also comes with potential risks and challenges. Although BDjobs Pro tiers are priced in a way to make them affordable to a large number of people, it remains to be seen how job seekers respond to these changes. In the context of Bangladesh, job seekers are viewed in want of money. Charging them for applying for jobs can attract critical views from the market. Similarly, BDjobs will now have to offer substantial benefits to the job seekers who are paying for its service. 

However, BDjobs' focus on balancing between free and paid tiers and bundling additional services should help it navigate the challenges well. Given the affordable pricing, the company should be able to attract a large number of paid users. As the job market continues getting more competitive with each passing year, motivated candidates should seek services like Bdjobs Pro that can tangibly improve their prospects of landing the right jobs. 

We’ll be eagerly following the development as the company deploys these new changes. 

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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