Nonprofits Competing with Socially Conscious Corporations for Purpose-Driven Talent

Nonprofits Competing with Socially Conscious Corporations for Purpose-Driven Talent

The 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, published recently by Nonprofit HR, shows how the nonprofit sector is being affected by the tight market for talent in the US and the growth of social enterprise organizations as a competitor in that market. Overall, the survey finds, the nonprofit hiring market is robust, with half of the 420 US and Canadian nonprofits it surveyed saying they planned to add staff in 2017. That figure declined by seven percentage points from 2016, however, whereas corporate hiring expanded, which the report attributes “at least in part to the growth of social enterprise and purpose-driven business.” In other words, the candidates who would normally seek out jobs at nonprofits are being attracted instead to socially conscientious for-profit businesses.

As the millennial generation has grown up to become the largest segment of today’s workforce, this generation’s values and interests are significantly influencing the way employers engage candidates and employees. Millennials do have a particularly strong interest in making a difference in the world, with a recent survey finding that 75 percent of US workers between the ages of 18 and 34 expect their employer to take positions on social issues affecting the country. Yet even though millennials may be driving the trend of a purpose-driven workforce, these interests are not unique to them.

Despite facing increasingly stiff competition, most nonprofits are not taking steps to improve their recruiting, talent management, and culture practices, the Nonprofit HR survey shows. 64 percent of organizations said they had no formal recruitment strategy, while the number that said they did has been declining over the past two years. Additionally, 70 percent have no dedicated recruiting budget, 69 percent have not engaged in an employment branding process, 81 percent have no formal retention strategy, and 52 percent do not have a diversity and inclusion strategy.

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Microsoft’s AI Unit Grows to 8,000 Employees in One Year

Microsoft’s AI Unit Grows to 8,000 Employees in One Year

The Microsoft AI and Research group, which CEO Satya Nadella founded a year ago as the software giant’s fourth engineering division, has grown its staff by 60 percent in its first year—from 5,000 to 8,000—representing the size of Microsoft’s bet that AI is the future of computing technology, GeekWire’s Todd Bishop reports:

The move reflects Nadella’s belief in “democratizing AI,” making it available to any person or company, and radically changing the way computers interact with and work on behalf of humans. …

During the past year, Microsoft has introduced new artificial intelligence and machine learning features and services in products including Office, Bing, Azure and programmable AI chips for the company’s data centers. The company has also released standalone AI programs, such as a Seeing AI app that helps visually impaired people better sense and understand the world around them.

On top of the company’s own AI division, Microsoft’s investment arm also launched a dedicated fund last December to invest in AI startups. The AI startup scene has been increasingly in the tech giants’ sights, both as investment targets and as opportunities to acqui-hire scarce and valuable AI experts.

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