CareerBuilder Sells Labor Market Analytics Firm Emsi to Strada

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Apr 25, 2018
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

Keeping in tune with the private-equity playbook, it was just a matter of time before Apollo Global, CareerBuilder’s majority shareholder since 2016, would start putting pieces of the portfolio up for sale.

Announced today, the company is dumping Emsi, an economic software firm that specializes in employment data and labor market analysis, to Strada Education Network (Strada), a national nonprofit that promises to strengthen the bridge between education and employment.

The transaction, which is conditioned on customary regulatory reviews and approvals, is expected to close during Q2 2018. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. A source close to the organization said Emsi represented only one percent of CareerBuilder revenues.

“CareerBuilder was instrumental in establishing the leadership position Emsi has today, and we will continue to work hand in hand with them as we become part of the Strada team,” said Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO of Emsi. “Joining forces with Strada will give Emsi a great home to further expand our business while enabling us to play a pivotal role in tackling the most critical issues impacting the U.S. labor force and economy.”

Emsi was a CareerBuilder acquisition back in 2012. At the time, CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson said, “Companies around the world need critical labor information to help recruit and retain the best people to drive their businesses forward. Big Data has become an integral part of the recruitment process, and Emsi brings a great competitive advantage to CareerBuilder and our clients. No one else in the industry can offer this breadth of information that can make recruitment faster, easier, and more cost effective.”

Emsi will join Strada Education Network’s portfolio of affiliated organizations and companies as part of the deal. Emsi will continue to operate as an independent entity, while collaborating and pursuing synergies that exist across Strada’s network.

“As part of our commitment to closing the gaps between education and employment, we believe it is essential that higher education providers, employers and workforce leaders have access to timely and accurate insights on today’s labor market trends and, in turn, empower students and professionals with that information,” said William D. Hansen, Strada’s president and CEO. “Improving the exchange of information and insights between consumers, educators, employers and workforce leaders is a core focus of Strada’s work, and Emsi’s expertise and services sit at the heart of our mission.”

It also looks like Emsi and its new owner will continue to be aligned with CareerBuilder in light of the ownership change.

“CareerBuilder, Strada, and Emsi share the same passion for solving the skills gap, and we will be able to leverage our respective resources to upskill and reskill workers and connect them with employers,” said Ferguson. “CareerBuilder will continue to partner closely with Emsi and co-develop and sell Emsi solutions. The agreement will expand opportunities for all of our organizations and accelerate efforts to reduce talent deficits in the labor market.”

Not everyone is impressed with the move.

“CareerBuilder is making a mistake by selling Emsi,” said Jack Russell, strategic recruitment analyst at Advanced Group and former CareerBuilder intern. “Emsi is one of the strongest labor market analytics tools out there. Having it in their arsenal gave CareerBuilder a head start on competitors like LinkedIn and Indeed. Now is the time to capitalize, not concede. Selling Emsi seems wholly unpractical, if not reckless.”

Interestingly, ERE’s John Zappe was favorable of the partnership back in 2011, when he wrote “You get to see the trends in demand — and worker supply — over time, not to mention what the current situation is and who else is competing for the same workers. You get a ratio of supply to demand, zeroing you in on the best geographies in which to fish.”

A bad move or not, I’m not sure Apollo even cares. Sources within the company, who talked on the condition of anonymity, tell me this move has little to do with “a passion for solving the skills gap,” and have everything to do with cost-cutting and dumping companies in the CareerBuilder portfolio that aren’t core to maximizing profits. The same sources say more moves like this should be expected in the months to come.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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