Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Helping Our Customers Source and Build More Diverse Talent Pools

By Hari Srinivasan, VP of Product at LinkedIn

As LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky shared last week, the Great Reshuffle is upon us. We’re entering a time where employers and employees alike are changing how we work, why we work, and what we value. 

In the midst of this unprecedented time, LinkedIn is uniquely positioned to not only help employers and employees navigate these changes, but also to create equal access to opportunity and help drive more equitable outcomes for all members of the global workforce.

We’ve been committed to building equitable products for some time. We’ve built representative search in Recruiter that delivers results reflecting the gender representation of the available talent pool, built gender insights into our Talent Insights product so that employers can rethink their sourcing strategies and broaden talent pools, and introduced an open-source project that allows us to measure and reduce inequality in our products. And just last week we overhauled the algorithms underlying our People You May Know recommendation system to make them more inclusive for members who have smaller networks or who are less active on the platform.

And today we’re introducing our “hide names and photos” feature that will help companies reduce bias when searching for candidates. We’re also rolling out additional resources to help employers build more inclusive teams. 

While I believe we’ve made some progress in helping our customers create more equitable outcomes, I know that we still have a lot more work to do. And as we enter the era of the Great Reshuffle, this is only the beginning. 

Mitigate bias when sourcing

We know that qualified candidates may be overlooked due to unconscious bias as recruiters can unintentionally use names and photos to evaluate candidates’ qualifications for a role. In fact, a recent study by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago found that on average applications from candidates with a “Black name” got fewer callbacks than similar applications with a “white name.”

To help recruiter teams reduce bias in their sourcing process, we are introducing the ability for administrators to elect to have candidate pictures and names hidden when sourcing candidates.

With this new feature, an avatar will replace the candidate’s photo and four randomly generated letters will replace the candidate’s name. With photos and names hidden, recruiters can now evaluate candidates solely on their qualifications and skills, not perceived social identity or appearance.

Build a more diverse pipeline 

In the era of the Great Reshuffle — where employees want to work for companies whose cultures align with their values— showcasing your company’s authentic commitment to equity has never been more important. And job seekers are turning to LinkedIn to find it: Over three-fourths (78%) of job seekers on LinkedIn expect to find diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) information on a company’s LinkedIn Page.*

That’s why we have the Life tab as part of our LinkedIn Career Pages product. With the Life tab, companies can showcase their DEI commitments, whether it’s through employee testimonials and personal experiences; customizable spotlights that highlight important DEI information, such as inclusive benefits or policies; or callouts of recent recognition, such as being named a top employer for diverse talent. Today, we’re also sharing suggested best practices and resources for companies to advance their DEI commitments to create more equitable outcomes.

Create diverse and inclusive workplaces

Another important step to building a more equitable workforce is to create diverse and inclusive workplaces where people can understand and confront unconscious biases and have meaningful conversations about potentially difficult topics.

To help people do this, we are continuing to invest in our DEI LinkedIn Learning library, releasing over 100 courses in the last year alone and dozens more in the coming months. Our goal is to provide leaders, people managers, and HR teams with the skills they need to combat bias and create diverse and inclusive workplaces, support employees of all types in developing their own DEI journey, and empower people with the skills needed to build inclusive products and services. Some of these courses include:

We’re also hosting live events on LinkedIn Learning focused on DEI where our members can engage in two-way interactions with experts in real-time, including next week’s Workplace Microaggressions: What Do They Look Like and How Do You Respond? with Dana Brownlee.

These solutions alone will not create the systemic change we need, but we are committed to making progress and continuing to build new products that will drive more equitable outcomes for our members and customers. For additional insights and new tools, you can find more information here.  

*This study was conducted using an Insight Community of LinkedIn members in the United States, where 334 participants were surveyed in April 2021. Participants were LinkedIn members across a range of races, genders, career stages, and industries and primarily moderately to heavily engaged on the LinkedIn platform.