Two workers video chat with colleagues
Photo: Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

To be young and entry-level in tech

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: recent grads in tech, building the metaverse, and mental health in tech.

—Amber Burton, reporter (email | twitter)

Hiring college grads in tech

Despite all the talk of the tech industry’s widening gap between job openings and talent, college graduates are still not securing jobs at the rate of their pre-pandemic predecessors, according to recent data from talent recruiting platform iCIMS.

The newest grads are still competing with graduates from 2020, said Chief People Officer Jewell Parkinson.

Here’s what the landscape looks like from above:

  • In tech, job openings were up 34% at the end of 2021 from the beginning of the year, but this hasn’t translated into more positions for entry-level employees who are still working to gain experience.
  • The younger cohort is now taking over the number of job applicants in the market. By late 2021, job seekers ages 18-24 had surpassed job seekers ages 25-34.
  • One bright spot: 29% more new college grads were hired in 2021 than the year prior, though they are still not being hired at the same levels as the class of 2019.

In pre-pandemic times, most organizations hired directly from their intern classes, but a lot of recent grads struggled to land internships during the COVID-19 crisis. Most companies shrunk, postponed or canceled their internships programs in 2020, and this caused a ripple effect wherein grads competed with multiple classes for roles. To have three years of job experience or internships is now unrealistic, and employers will need to readjust expectations to ensure young talent isn’t left behind, said Rhea Moss, director of Data Insights and Customer Intelligence at iCIMS.

Though it’s taking this cohort a longer time to find a job, it’s still a job seeker’s market and “HR professionals expect to pay 22% more for an entry-level salary than in March 2020,” according to iCIMS.

Younger applicants are looking for something different. Some may be surprised to find only 2% of college seniors actually want to work remotely full-time, according to iCIMS’ Class of 2021 report. Most want at least some in-person interaction. They’re looking for an experience many of them didn’t get a chance to have in college, said Moss.

Because of various shifting desires among applicants, it’s taking longer to fill open roles at all levels across tech. By December 2021, iCIMS data revealed the amount of time to fill a tech role had crept up to an average of 54 days.

What the experts say about recruiting recent grads and making sure they’re not overlooked in today’s market:

  • “On the employer side, it is really in our interest to reduce the time that it takes between when a candidate applies to a role and when a job is actually filled. A lot of that on an employer side obviously happens through technology and improving processes, and making sure that you're staying engaged and in touch with those candidates,” said Parkinson.
  • “I think it's important to remember that we're recruiting a new generation who are looking for different things in the companies they work for. They're looking for different processes and cultures in the recruiting process, and what they see on companies' career sites,” said Moss.

Building the metaverse

Mark Zuckerberg has big plans for building the metaverse. The only issue: It requires computing technology that no one knows how to build. It simply does not exist, and it will not exist next year or the year after, wrote my colleague Max A. Cherney. He highlights the disconnect between Big Tech’s excitement for the metaverse and the actual plausibility of creating the computing power to make the metaverse. Entire corporate identities are being fashioned around unseen innovation and the idea that the industry will be able to build the chips, data centers and networking equipment needed for the metaverse. (Perhaps this is a bad time to bring up that we still don’t have enough chips to build things that already exist today.)

Read the full story.

On the calendar

The dawn of the tech union

What are the key drivers at play leading tech workers to form unions? What does this mean for employers? How can companies better adapt to the needs of their workers? Protocol’s Anna Kramer will chat with tech unions about their needs, companies about their strategies at the bargaining table and labor experts about how workers and employers can best collaborate at 10 a.m. PT on Feb. 22. RSVP here.

A MESSAGE FROM APPIAN

Businesses need applications faster than ever before, and they need them to solve increasingly complex, sophisticated problems. This means IT teams need a more efficient way to quickly deliver powerful software and a better way to partner with their business counterparts. That’s where low-code comes in.

Learn more

Today's tips & tools

Google is following through on a bunch of new features it announced last year that allow for more seamless integration between its workspace products like Docs and Sheets. Here’s a rundown:

  • Doc summaries: Google Docs will automatically create summaries of your documents so you can easily grasp the main points without having to scroll all the way through.
  • Pageless format: You can create Google Docs without page breaks, like the endless-page format on Coda or Notion. There’s very little need to print documents out anymore: A pageless doc that fits your screen might be your speed.
  • Email draft template: In the next few weeks, you’ll be able to collaborate and send emails directly from Google Docs.
  • New smart chips: “Smart chips” are clickable blocks that integrate directly into Docs. You type “@” in a Doc and suggestions for people, files and meetings show up. You can then open a preview of the person, file or meeting within the Google Doc. It’s meant to reduce context switching. Google will now let you input Maps locations as a smart chip in Docs.

The goal is to bring all the products within Google Workspace closer together. “It’s not enough to have purpose-built products that are good at one thing,” said Vishnu Sivaji, product manager at Google Workspace. “People want these things to work together and they want them to feel seamless.”

— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (email | twitter)

Mental health in tech

A new study by Qualtrics found many employees link their mental heath to their jobs: unsurprising, considering the thinning boundaries between work and home. Burnout remains as a top issue among employees two years into the pandemic, and “flexibility” is one of the top rallying cries. Qualtrics' recent survey looked at what tech workers and other professionals say they need in order to feel better about their relationship to work. Here are the highlights.

  • 65% of tech workers who responded to the survey said their work is the “main source of their mental health problems.” This is higher than the average of all workers, which was 58%.
  • The top three things that all workers said would improve their work included higher pay (58%), a four-day workweek (46%) and flexibility (36%).
  • 59% of tech workers said they view the flexibility to work remotely to be most important.
  • Over half (51%) of tech workers would be willing to take a 5% pay cut or more in exchange for the privilege of remote work. In comparison, 34% of all workers said they’d be willing to do so.
  • 94% of tech workers said they want more control over their work schedules and to have their performance evaluated solely on their results.

More stories from us

Microsoft is preparing to go back to the office.

Turns out Amazon’s secret sauce is turnover — and lots of it.

Peloton’s new CEO said he doesn’t expect a sale any time in the "foreseeable future."

In China, DiDi will reportedly lay off 20% of its workforce.

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Some of IBM’s top execs are involved in an age discrimination case after it was found that they engaged in discussions about reducing the number of older employees.

It appears office romances thrived during the pandemic, according to a recent survey by SHRM.

People still appear to be more comfortable going to brunch than returning to physical offices.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great day, see you Thursday.

Recent Issues