Tech Companies Need More Than Just Tech Talent

Tech Companies Need More Than Just Tech Talent

New research from Glassdoor examines the job openings at major employers in the US tech sector to find out what roles these companies are hiring for. While tech companies have demonstrated an insatiable demand for digital-specific talent like software engineers, data scientists, and experts in AI and machine learning, they also require the same diverse set of skills and functions as other large, complex organizations. Accordingly, Glassdoor finds, 43 percent of open positions at tech companies are non-tech roles, accounting for almost 53,000 jobs. The ratio of tech to non-tech hiring varies widely, however, from one company to another:

Overall, Intel, Microsoft and Walmart eCommerce were hiring the highest percent of tech roles compared to non-tech roles, with 78 percent of their open roles being tech roles. Another tech company hiring predominantly tech workers was Amazon, with 72 percent of the roles on Glassdoor being categorized as tech roles. Despite having a large network of warehouse and logistics operations, tech giant Amazon is still mostly a tech employer.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 28 percent of Workday’s open roles were tech-related, with 72 percent being for more traditional non-tech jobs. The majority of job postings at IBM, Salesforce and Verizon were also for non-tech roles. Among Salesforce’s open roles, 41 percent were tech roles while 59 percent were non-tech roles. Similarly, Verizon had about 45 percent tech roles and IBM had 46 percent tech roles open out of their total openings.

The most common non-tech jobs advertised at these companies are account executives and project managers, along with a variety of sales, marketing, and management positions, but the tech sector is also hiring for a wide variety of other roles. Overall, Glassdoor found, most salaries for non-tech jobs range from $50,000-$90,000 per year, compared to $80,000-$120,000 for most tech roles.

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Can a Crowdsourced Approach to Executive Recruiting Beat the Experts?

Can a Crowdsourced Approach to Executive Recruiting Beat the Experts?

Erin Griffith at Wired profiles ExecThread, a site where executives can share and find job opportunities within an exclusive network of their peers. The site is the brainchild of entrepreneur Joe Meyer, who realized the potential for disruption in executive recruiting when he sold his startup HopStop to Apple in 2013 and was approached by dozens of recruiters bearing job offers he didn’t want:

He quickly realized that C-level job opportunities weren’t listed on job boards—they came through friends or colleagues. So he decided to share the 99 job opportunities he didn’t take with his network, building an informal online community of high-level professionals. The hope was that his professional contacts would share their unwanted “hidden” job opportunities, too. …

Over the past two years, the site has grown by word-of-mouth to 15,000 self-described “high-caliber” members. Of those members, 80 percent are vice president-level or higher. Cumulatively, they’ve discussed more than 7,000 jobs. Beginning Thursday, anyone can apply—but you may not get in. ExecThread vets applicants based on recommendations from existing members, how networked applicants are, how willing they are to share job postings, where they’ve worked, and what titles they’ve held. Existing members vote on incoming applicants.

Meyer tells Griffith that he hopes for ExecThread to “democratize” high-level job searches by allowing executive candidates to compete for opportunities that are not pitched directly to them by recruiters. He believes the site can do a better job of sourcing talent than executive recruiting firms, but also envisions eventually monetizing ExecThread by selling users’ data profiles to those firms.

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Uber Hires Harvard Professor to Help Clean up Culture

Uber Hires Harvard Professor to Help Clean up Culture

In the midst of several overlapping scandals earlier this year, including allegations of sexual harassment and rampant sexism, Uber has undertaken to overhaul its internal culture, which some employees, shareholders, and news reports have characterized as fundamentally toxic. Its latest move in that direction, CNN reports, is the hiring of Frances Frei, a professor and administrator at Harvard Business School who is joined Uber last week as senior vice president of leadership and strategy, reporting directly to CEO Travis Kalanick:

Frei is taking a leave of absence from Harvard to take on the role, an Uber spokeswoman said. … Frei will serve, in part, as a partner to HR chief Liane Hornsey in acting on the investigation’s findings. She will also work with Uber’s executive leadership team on strategy and management training. …

The bestselling author of “Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business,” Frei is considered to be a thought leader on organizational change.

Frei brings some much-needed credibility to Uber’s change initiative. Most people, especially students, at HBS over the past six or seven years know her best as the leader of its gender equity initiative, which the New York Times profiled at length back in 2013. In addition to her research on strategy and organizational change generally, one of her most tangible wins across the last few years was the changes that came to HBS as a result of her leadership on this project, despite the controversy she kicked up with her hands-on approach.

I also wonder if she will be seen as “the grown-up in the room,” much like Sheryl Sandberg’s initial role at Facebook. In any case, she seems like a good fit for what’s ailing Uber.

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Concerned About Board Effectiveness? It Might Be Time to Bring in the CHRO

Concerned About Board Effectiveness? It Might Be Time to Bring in the CHRO

A new study conducted by the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University and the Miles Group surveyed over 180 directors of public and private companies in North America to understand how they perceive the effectiveness of their boards. Overall, directors feel their boards comprise the right mix of knowledge and experience, but there are “significant negative perceptions percolating under the surface,” professor David F. Larcker of Stanford Graduate School of Business concludes in a statement.

Some notable, and worrisome, findings include:

  • Boards aren’t bringing in the relevant talent needed: Only half of directors feel that their board is effective in bringing new talent to refresh the board’s capabilities before they become outdated. This is at a time where directors gave themselves the lowest marks for technical knowledge, cybersecurity, and social media.
  • Trust levels are high, but not high enough: Only two-thirds of board members say they have a very high level of trust in their fellow directors.
  • Directors do not give each other honest feedback: Less than a quarter of board members rate their boards very effective at giving direct feedback to fellow directors.
  • Boardroom dynamics are sub-optimal: Directors report various shortcomings in group dynamics, including: directors allow personal or past experience dominate their perspective, they are too quick to come into consensus, and they don’t invite the active participation of all members.
  • Female directors assess board members more negatively: Female directors are significantly more likely to have negative views on their boards in terms of the effectiveness and skills of fellow directors, the board’s ability to give feedback to fellow directors, and overall boardroom dynamics.

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Acqui-Hiring the CEO

Acqui-Hiring the CEO

When Walmart agreed to acquire the e-commerce startup Jet in August, a key component of the deal was that Jet CEO Marc Lore would take over the retail giant’s entire online operation as its new CEO of e-commerce. As the Wall Street Journal’s Joann Lublin observes, this type of acquisition, in which the acquirer makes a point of retaining the acquired company’s chief executive, is becoming noticeably more common:

Similarly, Darius Adamczyk will take the helm of Honeywell International Inc. next March—nine years after he joined the industrial conglomerate through its purchase of Metrologic Instruments Inc., which he led. “I didn’t think I would stay more than a year,’’ Mr. Adamczyk recalled.

Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer has bought more than 50 startups since 2012. About a fifth of her top deputies are former heads of acquired startups. Among them is Adam Cahan,who developed a social app IntoNow, says he remained partly because Yahoo pledged to keep his old team intact for at least a year. Verizon Communications Inc. recently committed to purchasing Yahoo’s web assets.

Acquirers “are now more aware of the relationship between effective integration of top management teams and merger success,’’ said Jeffrey A. Krug, business school dean at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Yet the task remains so tough that “many mergers will continue to fail,’’ he said. Dr. Krug has studied executive turnover rates involving thousands of U.S. takeovers since the 1970s. On average, he said, companies lose a third of their executives within the first two years of being purchased.

Overall, CEB TalentNeuron has noticed that acqui-hiring, meaning an M&A strategy with a focus on obtaining top talent, has increased in recent years. While tech companies are the most prominent acqui-hirers (Facebook has made prolific use of the practice, as has Google), companies in traditional industries can also employ this strategy to bring in new-in-kind talent to fill emerging critical roles.

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Why Nestlé Tapped an Outsider for Its New CEO

Why Nestlé Tapped an Outsider for Its New CEO

Last week, Nestlé announced that Ulf Mark Schneider, the former CEO of health-care provider Fresenius SE, would succeed Paul Bulcke as chief of the world’s largest food company. Schneider, Bloomberg notes, beat out three internal candidates to become the first outsider tapped for the chief executive role at Nestlé since 1922. The decision to recruit not only from outside the company but outside its industry indicates that Nestlé is looking to make some big changes in the direction of its business, Reuters reports:

“It is striking that Nestle hasn’t gone for a CEO from the consumer goods sector,” said Jean-Philippe Bertschy, an analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich. “It shows Nestle really wants to transform the business and not just do a little bit of health and wellness on the side.”

With estimated sales of about 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.09 billion) out of Nestle’s total 88.8 billion francs in 2015, the health business is seen as faster growing and more profitable than Nestle’s traditional food and beverage operations, which include Nescafe instant coffee and KitKat chocolate bars. The integration of Nestle’s health science and skin health divisions, which will report directly to Schneider rather than operating as standalone businesses, was described as a positive development by Bertschy.

While most organizations still draw new CEOs from within their own ranks, the number of outsiders appointed in recent years has increased markedly, a recent study from Strategy& found, and its authors attribute that shift to the rising pace of change and the number of companies undergoing fundamental transformations in their business models.

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What’s Behind The Rise of the Outsider CEO?

What’s Behind The Rise of the Outsider CEO?

Last month, we highlighted Strategy&’s 2015 CEO Success study, which showed that while most companies still prefer to promote CEOs from within their own ranks, a growing number of organizations are turning to outside candidates to fill open chief executive roles. Now, at Strategy+Business, the study’s authors DeAnne Aguirre, Per-Ola Karlsson, and Gary Neilson discuss their findings in more depth:

Discontinuous change is the principal reason that more companies are turning to outsiders. Some industries, such as energy, are reeling from large and unusual swings in supply, demand, and prices. Others, such as telecommunication services, are moving from an asset-intensive to a consumer-intensive business model. Industries such as utilities and banking are adapting to major changes in regulatory policies. And in nearly all sectors, companies are rethinking their business models in reaction to the rise of digitization.

Companies that find the context in which they operate changing so rapidly often need leaders with experiences and skill sets that are different from the ones that can be found within the company’s current management ranks.

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