Nine Great Innovations, Opportunities and Challenges for 2012 - Slide 7

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Today, active Facebook users alone account for over 38 percent of the world’s Internet population. Additionally, there are nearly 150m users on LinkedIn and 100m active users on Twitter. Driven by their massive membership and demographic super-status, social networks will become the go-to avenue for talent acquisitions in 2012.

Social recruiting applications, like Branchout, innovate an armory of recruiting tools to improve relevancy in the recruitment process by adding social association search functionalities and pushing users to add granular skills data. Now, any company, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies can identify and hire prospective employees, leveraging the vast network of social network users.

Arguably, 2011 was already the beginning of this trend; according to a recent report from Jobvite.com, 80 percent of 600 surveyed answered "Yes" to the question, "Do you use social media for recruiting." In the same study, more than 22m Americans used social networks to find jobs in 2011, and of those, one in six people (15 percent plus), found a job through social networking. Today, 54 percent of job seekers are using Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for their search.

Whereas GP Bullhound sees 2012 being the break-through year for mass adoption of social recruiting, they also believe that high-end / executive positions will continue to be matched predominately through traditional channels. But for mainstream positions, social networks have tremendous potential for job seekers and employers alike.

Companies to Watch: BranchOut, Jobcast.net, Jobmagic, Jobvite, The Resumator, TwentyPeople, SmartRecruiters, Work4 Labs, Zartis, Identified, Talent.me, BraveNewTalent

As technology analysts and advisors, GP Bullhound expects a volatile 2012 with pockets of great innovation, opportunity and new successes, but also continued challenges as commoditization will wreak havoc to some industries, and hype will remain in others creating near-term opportunity and in some cases long-term issues.

We are entering the new year under rather unusual circumstances. The macroeconomic outlook remains cloudier than ever due to unprecedented uncertainty around a number of major global economic and political situations including the fate of the Euro and the European economies, the status of the U.S. recovery and the role of the U.S. dollar, nervousness in recently outperforming emerging markets, like Brazil, and the global impact of a slowdown in China just to mention a few.

Some things do remain the same however such as the continued global Internet trend, the rapid mobilization of users and applications and the inevitable trend of increased online social interaction.

In 2012, GP Bullhound expects Internet to continue its inevitable shift from being an information and content channel to a trusted platform for socializing, sharing, communicating and most importantly for 2012, consuming. Furthermore, they expect a lot of opportunity to come out of the rapid adoption of mobile online activities, particularly in emerging markets. They also expect to see some much needed innovation in the enterprise software arena, which is now well behind the consumer technology curve.

The macroeconomic outlook however remains cloudier with unprecedented levels of uncertainty on a global scale. In an ever-more connected and competitive global technology world, there will be little room to hide without differentiated products or services. The value of IP will continue to rise, while commoditization will punish the me-too players. As a consequence, they are seeing investors and acquirers becoming increasingly willing to travel far to find best-of-breed companies, supporting an anticipated rise in cross-border acquisitions and investment activities. All in all, they look forward to an interesting 2012.

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