Kenneth Chenault to Become Facebook’s First Black Director

Kenneth Chenault to Become Facebook’s First Black Director

Facebook announced last week that Kenneth I. Chenault, the retiring CEO of American Express, would join the social media giant’s board of directors on February 5. A 37-year employee of American Express, Chenault was appointed to the chief executive post in 2001, joining the very small club of people of color in the upper echelons of corporate America. Next month, he will become the first person of color on Facebook’s board, Hanna Kozlowska notes at Quartz, fulfilling a promise Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg had made to the Congressional Black Caucus last year that the company would soon appoint an African-American director.

With Facebook, like all of its peers in big tech, has been criticized for a lack of diversity in its workforce, particularly in technical and managerial positions. Its latest diversity report, released last August, showed modest progress, with black Americans making up 3 percent of its US workforce and Hispanic Americans 5 percent. Women now make up 35 percent of Facebook’s global workforce, 28 percent of its leadership, and 19 percent of its technical staff. Minority presence in senior leadership, however, has stagnated since 2014.

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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.

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Apple Plans to Invest Repatriated Cash in New Jobs, Capital Improvements

Apple Plans to Invest Repatriated Cash in New Jobs, Capital Improvements

Apple announced on Wednesday that it was bringing hundreds of billions of dollars back to the US that the company had previously held overseas to take advantage of a loophole in the US tax code that has now been closed. In doing so, Bloomberg’s Alex Webb and Mark Gurman report, the company will incur a tax bill of around $38 billion, but it also plans to spend $30 billion over the next five years on capital expenditures, with which it expects to create 20,000 new jobs and open a new campus:

“We are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a statement Wednesday, which also alluded to unspecified plans by the company to accelerate education programs. Apple also told employees Wednesday that it’s issuing stock-based bonuses worth $2,500 each following the new U.S. tax law, according to people familiar with the matter.

These moves came in response to the tax reform package passed by the US Congress in December, which reformed the international tax system for corporations by removing a rule that let American companies defer paying taxes on foreign income until they repatriated those earnings, incentivizing companies to stockpile some $3.1 trillion in cash overseas. Apple was among the companies best known for taking advantage of the deferral provision and faced extensive criticism for doing so, including from President Donald Trump.

Other major US companies, including Walmart, have announced raises, bonuses, and other investments in their workforce in light of the major corporate tax cut enacted last month.

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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:

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Business Leaders Press Congress on DACA After Judge Blocks Trump’s Order

Business Leaders Press Congress on DACA After Judge Blocks Trump’s Order

Late on Tuesday, a federal judge in California issued an injunction blocking US President Donald Trump’s order winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into the US as children, CNN reported on Wednesday:

Judge William Alsup also said the administration must resume receiving DACA renewal applications. But the ruling is limited — the administration does not need to process applications for those who have never before received DACA protections, he said. …

The ruling came in a challenge to the Department of Homeland Security brought by the University of California and others. In his 49-page ruling, Alsup said “plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious” and must be set aside under the federal Administrative Procedures Act. The judge said a nationwide injunction was “appropriate” because “our country has a strong interest in the uniform application of immigration law and policy.”

The DACA program, which is based on the principle of prosecutorial discretion, was enacted in 2012 and has benefited some 800,000 individuals under 31 who arrived in the country before the age of 16, have lived in the US continuously since 2007, and are in school or have graduated. In total, up to 1.1 million so-called “dreamers” were eligible for the program, though not all who were eligible applied—potentially out of fear of “outing” themselves to the federal government as undocumented.

Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to drastically reduce legal and illegal immigration and to hasten the deportation of undocumented immigrants, ordered the DACA program canceled last September, giving Congress until March to find a legislative solution or the administration would begin phasing out its protections. Talks over a deal have stalled over disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over whether to pair it with funding for Trump’s proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. The Trump administration intends to fight Alsup’s injunction, but the court battle could drag on for years. The upshot, the Washington Post explains, is that DACA beneficiaries remain uncertain of their future status unless and until Congress acts.

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Uber Can Be Regulated As a Transport Company, ECJ Rules

Uber Can Be Regulated As a Transport Company, ECJ Rules

The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that Uber should be regulated as a transportation company, not a technology company, potentially exposing the ridesharing platform to new licensing and tax requirements within the European Union and hinting at how the court will likely rule on other regulatory issues involving gig economy companies.

The court’s finding that Uber “must be classified not as ‘an information society service’ but as ‘a service in the field of transport’​​” means that under European law, it may be regulated differently in each member state, Sky News’s Bethany Minelle explains—in contrast to digital platforms, which are held to a single set of rules throughout the EU. This opens the way for EU countries and cities to hold Uber to the same standards as other transportation services in their jurisdictions:

While the long-running case, which originated in Spain, is not legally binding it is likely to foreshadow the decision in the majority of EU cases. The Barcelona-based legal firm representing the cabbies who filed the lawsuit said that the ruling was “a social victory” with “great judicial significance”. …

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