Finance Losing Ground to Tech as Employer of Choice for MBAs

Finance Losing Ground to Tech as Employer of Choice for MBAs

For a very long time, investment banks and other financial institutions were the preferred destinations for business school graduates. Those companies offered the highest salaries, the greatest prestige, and the opportunity to live in the world’s most vibrant cities, particularly New York. Today, thanks to numerous factors, the tech industry is displacing finance as the preferred employer for newly-minted MBAs because it can offer similarly high salaries, better office conditions, and the flexibility to either live in a major city or work remotely from anywhere—a growing preference among workers of all types. Even though tech jobs can be demanding, that’s less of a concern for people who have experienced the long-hour, high-pressure work of finance or consulting.

In October of last year, the Wall Street Journal‘s Kelsey Gee reported that Amazon had become the top recruiter at Carnegie Mellon, Duke, and the University of California, Berkeley; and the most prevalent internship destination for students at Michigan, MIT, Dartmouth and Duke. All of those schools’ MBA programs are ranked in the top 20 in the country by US News & World Report, and some are in the top 10. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has deliberately lured these graduates away from the big banks with an aggressive recruiting strategy, which involves hosting events before school even starts, sending armies of recruiters to campus, and sponsoring case competitions. Gee noted that while tech companies had previously been hesitant to hire business school grads, they are finding an improved culture fit. Given that Amazon and other tech companies need to scale their businesses rapidly, it makes sense to have more people around who know their way around a balance sheet.

This week at the Financial Times, Jonathan Moules spotted this same trend developing internationally as well, noting that banks in Europe are also feeling pressure to compete for MBA talent with Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. JPMorgan Chase ceased its on-campus recruiting program at European business schools entirely in 2013, as it was hiring too few graduates. The bank continues to recruit MBAs in the US but has changed its approach, putting greater emphasis on quality of life, stable holidays, and international rotation opportunities in a counteroffer to some of the tech sector’s main draws. It’s not just big tech companies that are luring these grads away, however: One European student told Moules that most of his classmates wanted to start their own businesses.

In general, the MBA is currently at a bit of a crossroads. Full-time enrollment and applications have gone down for three years in a row while companies are less likely to pay for their employees to complete them than they have been in the past. More specialized business programs have also cut into their prospect pool, with many opting for programs in analytics, operations, or finance to better fit their needs. There will always be a market for managerial talent, but now that the tech sector is becoming a leading buyer in that market, business schools themselves may need to change to cater to students whose career goals lie outside finance or management consulting.

Amazon Joins Other Tech Companies in Dumping Salary History Inquiries

Amazon Joins Other Tech Companies in Dumping Salary History Inquiries

Amazon has prohibited its hiring managers from asking job candidates in the US about their previous salaries, Caroline O’Donovan reports at BuzzFeed, citing a post on an internal company message board:

According to Amazon’s message, which was posted Tuesday, hiring managers and recruiters can no longer “directly or indirectly ask candidates about their current or prior base pay, bonus, equity compensation, variable pay, or benefits” or “use salary history information as a factor in determining whether or not to offer employment and what compensation to offer a candidates.”

The instructions also explicitly ban the use of tools like LinkedIn Recruiter to estimate or otherwise ascertain an individual’s prior salary. According to an Amazon spokesperson, these rules were shared with all Amazon recruiters in the US, and apply equally to salaried employees like software engineers and hourly workers like call center employees.

This change comes in response to a wave of state and local laws banning salary history inquiries in the hiring process, including in California, Delaware, Massachusetts and Oregon, as well as New York City. California’s salary history ban, which came into effect at the beginning of this year, could have a particularly significant impact as that state is home to many major employers, including the tech giants of Silicon Valley. Facebook and Cisco have both announced that they will stop asking about salary histories, not just in California but throughout the US, while Google has already abandoned them nationwide.

Read more

Google Funds IT Training for Thousands, Most of Which They’ll Never Hire

Google Funds IT Training for Thousands, Most of Which They’ll Never Hire

Google has taken its internal IT training curriculum and, in partnership with Coursera, taken it public in the form of a certificate program. The tech giant is also providing full funding to 10,000 students, despite the fact that the majority of them will never become Googlers. Still, this initiative will allow Google to build a pipeline of talent in a critical field—they’ll have an inside track to hiring top performers from the program—while also enabling diversity across the entire sector by upskilling candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. It burnishes the company’s public image as well: The program is available to anyone, the cost is highly subsidized, and Google will have a hand in closing the digital talent gap.

The cost of the program is $49 per month, and scholarships will be funded by Google.org grants and distributed in part through community groups such as Year Up, Goodwill, Student Veterans of America, and Upwardly Global, per Google’s press release. The goal is for students to be ready for entry-level IT support jobs within 8 to 12 months after they complete the training, which consists of 64 hours of video lessons as well as interactive labs and assignments.

Trainees will learn to handle tasks such as troubleshooting and customer service, operating systems, and system administration, automation, and security. Once students complete the program, they will also have the option to share their information with an impressive list of corporate employers such as Bank of America, Walmart, PNC Bank, and more, in addition to Google.

While Google is the trendsetter here, Coursera is working on similar programs with other companies, Quartz’s Michael J. Coren notes:

Read more

How the Workplace Will Change in 2018

How the Workplace Will Change in 2018

Over the past few years, we have witnessed a marked acceleration in the pace of change in the workplace. Each year brings with it new innovations, ideas, and passing fads, as well as social, political, and economic events that affect employers all across the world. 2017 was no exception: Tight labor markets driving competition for talent, concerns over automation and displacement amid the growing embrace of new technologies, the first year of the Trump administration, and the rise of the #MeToo movement were just a few of the many events and trends that impacted the working world last year. In 2018, we anticipate that some of these developments will continue to reverberate, while new challenges and opportunities will arrive.

Here are some of the major developments that employers can expect to see this year, in the US and around the world:

The Sexual Harassment Reckoning Will Only Grow

In the second half of 2017, revelations of sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault poured out of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, sparking a long-overdue conversation about the treatment of women and the harboring of known abusers in these male-dominated industries, as well as in politics, media, and other fields. Powerful men, from Hollywood moguls to tech CEOs to members of the US Congress, were toppled by multiple allegations of sexual misconduct ranging from inappropriate workplace behavior to outright assault. Organizations in all sectors are facing unprecedented public attention to their sexual harassment policies, how diligently they enforce them, and whether they uphold an inclusive and respectful work environment. If the reckoning didn’t come to your industry in the past few months, it likely will this year. Business leaders in corporate America and around the world will have their past and present behavior scrutinized, and some will be exposed as abusers and face strong public and investor pressure to step down. Addressing toxic workplace cultures that enable sexual harassment will become an issue of even greater concern for directors and HR leaders. Companies can ill afford to close their eyes and hope for this problem to go away on its own; time really is up.

The Private Sector Will Lead the Way on Raising the Minimum Wage

Congress is unlikely to take action to increase the federal minimum wage in 2018. Some states will raise their minimum wages, as will some cities, while other states will take action to preempt local hikes. Meanwhile, companies will take it upon themselves to increase their pay floors in order to attract and retain talent in a tight labor market. As large employers of low-wage hourly workers like Walmart and Target increase their own minimum wages, other companies will need to follow suit to remain competitive.

Technology, Social Media, and Journalists Will Continue to Bring Transparency into Company Culture

Companies’ cultures and employer brands are in the spotlight now more than ever before. The decisions, approaches, policies, and beliefs through which companies manage their employees will play a dramatically larger role in how consumers and investors (not just candidates and employees) view the company. In 2018, this will put pressure on companies to manage their employer brands through HR as aggressively as they protect their consumer brands through PR.

CEOs Will Be Forced to Take Stands on Political And Social Issues

Throughout 2018, the political polarization and dysfunction that has prevailed in Washington, D.C. recently will almost certainly persist, while gender equality, diversity, immigration, LGBT rights, and other issues with major workplace implications will remain hot-button topics. While some CEOs have already found their voices when it comes to responding to the news of the day, others will feel pressure this year from customers, employees, and investors alike to be more vocal about their beliefs and to back them up with concrete actions within their companies.

AI Will Play a Bigger Role In Hiring, Raising the Risk of Algorithmic Bias

The use of AI and algorithms in hiring decisions has already grown dramatically. In 2018, companies will continue to adopt these technologies, but many will also begin to recognize the danger of algorithmic bias. While these automated solutions have shown promise in terms of improving quality, efficiency, and even fairness in the recruiting process, they also run the risk of harming diversity in the workforce by replicating biases that already exist within the company.

Adoption of Wearables in the Workplace Will Increase

In 2017, 3 percent of companies introduced wearable technology in the workplace, giving employees smart badges to monitor their behavior in order to track productivity and identify inefficiencies in the use of office space. In 2018, as more companies adopt technology that can track the location and behavioral data of employees, companies will begin to use this data to redesign workspaces, schedules, and workflows to maximize employee productivity. As these technologies become more mainstream, employers may not have to worry as much as they think about employees resisting their implementation, but should think carefully about how much actionable insight they are gaining by monitoring their employees.

More Employees Will Change Jobs Due to a Lack of Respect

While compensation continues to be the top driver of attraction for candidates globally, respect was the the fourth most important driver in our Global Talent Monitor Report for Q3 2017. In 2018, the labor market will continue to remain tight and employees will feel that they have enough control to speak openly about the lack of respect or appreciation. If companies aren’t able to provide increased compensation or opportunities for growth, they should look at ways to improve employees’ sense of respect in order to retain talent.

Diversity, Technology Major Themes in LinkedIn’s Recruiting Trends Survey

Diversity, Technology Major Themes in LinkedIn’s Recruiting Trends Survey

Diversity, new interviewing tools, data, and artificial intelligence are the four trends set to have the biggest impact on recruiting in the coming year, according to LinkedIn’s latest Global Recruiting Trends report. Based on a survey of over 9,000 talent leaders and hiring managers worldwide, along with a series of expert interviews, the report underscores the growing role of technology in shaping how companies meet their hiring goals, of which diversity is increasingly paramount. Nonetheless, while many HR leaders see these trends as important, the number of organizations fully acting on them lags far behind.

Diversity was the top trend by far, with 78 percent of respondents saying it was very or extremely important, though only 53 percent said their organizations had mostly or completely adopted diversity-oriented recruiting. In recent years, diversity has evolved from a compliance issue to a major driver of culture and performance, as more and more organizations recognize its bottom-line value. This shift was reflected in the LinkedIn report, with 62 percent of the companies surveyed saying they believed boosting diversity would have a positive impact on financial performance and 78 percent saying they were pursuing it to improve their culture. Additionally, 49 percent are looking to ensure that their workforce better reflects the diversity of their customer base.

Diversity was the only top trend identified in LinkedIn’s survey that wasn’t directly related to technology, but technology is definitely influencing how organizations are pursuing it. In the past year, we have seen the emergence of new software and tools to support diversity and inclusion. The aim of these tools is to remove the human error of unconscious bias from the recruiting process, but it’s important to be aware that automated processes can also develop built-in biases and end up replicating the very problem they are meant to solve. This is an issue we’ve been following in our research at CEB, now Gartner; CEB Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council members can read more of our insights on algorithmic bias here.

The development of new interview tools and techniques was identified as the second most important trend, with 56 percent saying it was important. The LinkedIn survey found that the most common areas where traditional interviews fail are assessing candidates’ soft skills (63 percent), understanding candidates’ weaknesses (57 percent), the biases of interviewers (42 percent), and the process taking too long (36 percent). The report highlights five new interviewing techniques, all enabled by technology, that aim to address these problems:

Read more

US Labor Department Adopts New, Flexible Standard for Regulating Internships

US Labor Department Adopts New, Flexible Standard for Regulating Internships

Earlier this month the US Department of Labor announced that it was revising its test for determining whether interns count as employees entitled to protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, citing recent federal court rulings that rejected the previous test:

The Department of Labor today clarified that going forward, the Department will conform to these appellate court rulings by using the same “primary beneficiary” test that these courts use to determine whether interns are employees under the FLSA. The Wage and Hour Division will update its enforcement policies to align with recent case law, eliminate unnecessary confusion among the regulated community, and provide the Division’s investigators with increased flexibility to holistically analyze internships on a case-by-case basis.

The department has issued a fact sheet explaining the standard it will enforce going forward, which is more flexible than the previous test and is based on the rubric the courts have used to judge who is the “primary beneficiary” of the internship and the “economic reality” on which it is based:

Read more

‘Weird’ Job Titles May Drive Away Top Candidates

‘Weird’ Job Titles May Drive Away Top Candidates

“Digital solutions ninja” may sound like a more exciting job than “tech support,” but do quirky job titles like these attract or repel candidates? Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman highlights some research that suggests the latter:

According to jobs platform Indeed, the top five are genius, guru, rockstar, wizard, and ninja. The winning titles were identified as the most common “weird job titles” as calculated by the share of postings containing them over the last two years. Rockstar, in particular, has grown in frequency by 19%, followed closely by guru, although the latter has lost some steam as it’s declined by 21%. Ninja itself is experiencing a slow assassination, declining by 35% since its peak in March 2017. But does the quirkiness really result in surfacing qualified candidates?

Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of HR at Indeed, thinks they just serve to confuse people. “When you do your [job] search,” he contends, “you’re not going to put ninja” in the search box. “Companies use these to express what their culture is like,” Wolfe concedes, “but there are other ways to get that point out.” Career pages on a website that contain videos, photos, and other descriptions of what it’s like to work at the company are a better vehicle than a cutesy title.

A 2016 survey by Spherion came to a similar conclusion about these too-clever-by-half job titles, finding that many employees consider them unprofessional and not descriptive of what they actually do. Even more ordinary titles like “specialist” or “project manager” are often seen as too generic.

Read more