What We Mean by Equitable Outcomes for the Global Workforce

March 3, 2021

In full transparency, this post was supposed to be published earlier this month, alongside a larger set of content published by our CEO, CMCO and company platform sharing LinkedIn’s long-term commitment to help drive equitable outcomes for all members of the global workforce. But I didn’t feel we were ready to publish this piece just yet. As a team dedicated to this journey, we wanted to spend more time listening and having critical conversations with colleagues to get more insight and alignment on what we mean as a company when we say things like equity and equitable outcomes. 

Understanding the definition of equity

I am not the end-all, be-all expert on equity--and neither is LinkedIn. It’s not possible for any one person or company to be. At any given point, at best all one can bring is a perspective, a strong point of view (POV) influenced by one’s own experience (lived, observed), research and data. That is what I am excited to bring to this role. And this post is meant to represent LinkedIn’s POV on how we’re thinking about helping drive equitable outcomes and what we intend to do.

In honor of the common saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” let’s start with an image. We leveraged original “The Giving Tree” artwork designed by Tony Ruth and made some modifications to reflect our POV on the work needed to help realize equitable outcomes.  

  • Equity

From our perspective, equity means acknowledging and mitigating biases and barriers that prevent realization of a person’s potential. An equitable outcome is one where every individual from every demographic has the opportunity to reach their full potential resulting in more economic opportunity for everyone.  

Equitable outcomes in the workforce

We believe LinkedIn is uniquely positioned to both create equal access to opportunity and help drive more equitable outcomes for all members of the global workforce. 

When members share that they’re getting more responses from hiring companies when they change the name on their resume to appear “less ethnic” (sometimes referred to as “whitening their resume”), this is a stark example of how systemic barriers manifest for professionals both individually and at scale. One way LinkedIn is helping to drive more equitable outcomes in the workforce is by intentionally building features into our Talent Solutions tools, like providing customers with the ability to elect to have candidate pictures and names hidden from their recruiters, thus helping their teams mitigate bias and widen talent pools by taking a skills-first approach to hiring. This is just one example of what we mean by helping to foster equitable outcomes.

A more equitable workforce should inspire us all to think beyond the prism of a zero-sum game in which in order for some to win, others must lose. Driving this work forward means the ability to have impact at scale and better live up to our mission and vision of creating economic opportunities for every member of the global workforce. Right now on LinkedIn, there are approximately 15 million roles available, with 6+ million members actively indicating on their LinkedIn profile that they're open to work. Our potential to help those members find the job that is right for them — and for our customers to find the best possible talent to fill their open roles — can only benefit from an acute focus on building the best possible tools.  For example, features like self-identity help mitigate bias and provide our customers with the data needed to help create more diverse workplaces. 

Our vision for the exciting journey ahead

Candidly and personally speaking, taking on this new role brought about a healthy dose of fear for me around a number of things, not the least of which includes the fact that we won’t always get it right and change is hard. However, when I look ahead at the potential for a more equitable future, I believe fear can and should succumb to inspiration as we’ve never been in a better place to reimagine what a sustainable, inclusive workforce can be.  

LinkedIn's quest to help foster equitable outcomes is not about re-allocation. It's about reinvention. Unlocking the power and potential of the world’s professionals is about inspiring and skilling up each member to fully realize their dreams. Matching human potential to economic potential can unleash growth at companies, cities, and economies at scale if we’re committed and intentional about doing the hard work. 

And we will.

We look forward to sharing more information as we continue this journey. Thank you for reading.