Box with a LinkedIn logo dropping a horde of people out of it
Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Can LinkedIn nudge you to hire a more diverse workforce?

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. If you’re using the BeReal app to capture your authentic life, don’t forget to practice good opsec when you’re posting photos of your work computer screen. Today, a new LinkedIn feature wants to combat unconscious bias, climate is the new Facebook and the CEO who cried about layoffs in a selfie he posted online.

— Meg Morrone, senior editor (email | twitter)

Nudging diversity

Tech leaders have made their commitment to DEI loud and clear at this point. But companies’ progress in hiring engineers of color, women and other underrepresented folks, is still incremental. One excuse leaders give is that underrepresented talent is “hard to find.” Usually, they’re just looking in the wrong places.

LinkedIn released a feature called “Diversity Nudges” for its recruiting platform on Wednesday, challenging the “hard to find” myth. The feature is solely for gender diversity at the moment.

  • If a recruiter’s search results skew either too male or female, the nudge feature will recommend ways to broaden the pool of results. For example, adding candidates from a particular location or with a particular skill might increase the percentage of female candidates.
  • “It’s not an extra step that we’re asking recruiters to take,” said Jennifer Shappley, VP of global talent acquisition at LinkedIn. “It’s built into the day-to-day activities of a recruiter.”
  • The goal is to help recruiters expand their preconceived ideas of what makes a candidate qualified. Shappley noted that women tend to emphasize soft skills and men tend to emphasize technical skills. A nudge might tell recruiters that including soft skills in their search criteria will amass more female candidates. Ideally, that knowledge will stick with them.

The feature is limited to gender for now because LinkedIn’s data can ascertain only whether a profile is female or male. The company doesn’t have enough data yet to identify race, age, sexuality or whether someone is nonbinary.

  • Some people tell LinkedIn their gender in an “anonymous manner,” Shappley said, as the information is not public-facing. LinkedIn can also infer gender via pronouns and LinkedIn identity-based groups the person belongs to.
  • “Once we have sufficient self-ID data to have accurate sample sizes, we’ll also be able to expand our insights to race, age and more,” a LinkedIn spokesperson told me.

A diversity nudge might seem insignificant, but it’s an important challenge to recruiter bias. It makes it that much harder for leaders to lean on the “they’re hard to find” defense, and is one more way to hold companies accountable to their DEI promises. Recruiters might not be aware that their approach to the day-to-day candidate search is actively impeding their diversity goals. “It is really hard to get people out of the routine that they have become used to,” Shappley said. “Being able to connect folks to that outcome they say they want with their daily behavior is really important.”

— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (email| twitter)

If a recruiter’s search results skew either too male or female, LinkedIn's new nudge feature will recommend ways to broaden the pool.

Image: Linkedin

Climate tech’s allure to workers

When Jonathan Strauss attended the University of Pennsylvania, all the most ambitious kids in his classes wanted to be investment bankers.

Then came the Googles and Facebooks of the world, with their exciting promise of changing the world and making a meaningful impact — nap rooms and free gyms included. Wall Street suddenly found itself overshadowed by Silicon Valley as the place to be for top talent.

Today it’s a different story. Big Tech is no longer the young upstart, and there’s a new kid in town luring away smart people looking for purpose and willing to take a chance on something new: climate tech.

Read the full story.


Chip shortage could undermine national security: The global shortage of semiconductors has impeded the production of everything from pickup trucks to PlayStations. But there are graver implications than a scarcity of consumer goods. If the U.S. does not ensure continued domestic access to leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing, experts say our national security could suffer.

Read more from Micron

The best benefits

Worklife Ventures asked 575 U.S.-based tech workers, “Which company benefits — or potential benefits — are most important to you?” Here’s the breakdown:

49% — Paid holidays
46% — Profit sharing
43% — Mental health benefits
37% — More lenient remote work policies
28% — Gym and exercise benefits

Some personnel news

Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating or sinking. We’re here to help.

⬆️ While everyone else is firing, Figma is hiring. "We are hiring across departments with a specific focus on product, design, engineering, and sales," Nadia Singer, Figma's vice president of talent told Business Insider.

⬇️ Groupon to lay off nearly 15% of its staff. According to the Chicago Tribune, the CEO of the online-deals company sent a letter to employees earlier this week that said, “Put simply, our cost structure and our performance are not aligned.”

⬇️ Snap layoffs are coming soon, according to The Verge. In May the company said it would slow hiring until the end of the year, but CEO Evan Spiegel denied rumors of both layoffs and a hiring freeze.

⬇️ Amazon bought iRobot (the company that makes your Roomba/best friend.) The same day, iRobot let 10% of its workforce go. “The reduction in force is completely separate from Friday’s Amazon announcement,” the company said in a statement to TechCrunch.

⬇️⬇️⬇️ The CEO of a company that claims to “bring out the human in B2B sales & marketing” by optimizing LinkedIn posts announced layoffs at his own company and then posted a selfie of him crying. People were unimpressed.

For more news on hiring, firing and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.

Around the internet

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

Here come the layoff specialists. (Vice)

It’s a trap! WFH will not solve all of women’s problems at work. (Bloomberg)

The failed four-day workweek experiment. (Fast Company)

People are obsessing over their dating profile photos, when what they really should be worried about is LinkedIn. (The Wall Street Journal)


Chip shortage could undermine national security: To ensure American security, prosperity and technological leadership, industry leaders say the U.S. must encourage domestic manufacturing of chips in order to reduce our reliance on East Asia producers for crucial electronics components.

Read more from Micron

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