LinkedIn wants to reduce inequality among its member base by taking on the so-called “networking gap” — advantages some people have based on who they know — with a new push to help people broaden their connections.
For much of its history, the Microsoft-owned social network has focused on connecting people to others they already know. As first reported by Axios LinkedIn is set to turn that model on its head by encouraging users to connect with new people, which the company hopes will boost job prospects for those lacking strong networks.
In a keynote at the company’s Talent Connect conference Thursday LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner encouraged people to take the company’s Plus One Pledge “to share your time, talent, or connections with people outside your network who may not have access to the same resources you do.” The move comes as LinkedIn is putting a greater emphasis on the consequences of its products by looking at how they affect inequality among members.
We’ve reached out to LinkedIn for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
Having connections within a company remains the best way to get a job, and that’s a big reason why LinkedIn wants to bolster user networks. Axios sites LinkedIn data showing that a person is six times more likely to get a job at a company if they have a connection there. An internal referral makes it nine times more likely the person will land the position.
Earlier this month LinkedIn unveiled a set of new standardized tests to let users prove how skilled they are in a variety of areas. Axios points to this program, LinkedIn Skill Assessments, as another way people who lack extensive networks can position themselves as strong job candidates.
UPDATE, 7 a.m.: LinkedIn unveiled a new product road map showing further shifts beyond hiring to help companies and managers better engage with their employees and develop their skill sets. Here’s a look at some of the new updates:
- Last year, LinkedIn acquired Glint, a company that helps organizations get feedback from employees. Today, LinkedIn introduced Glint Perform, which helps companies figure out what motivates their employees. The program is designed to increase communication between teams and managers, encourage feedback and incorporate it into day-to-day actions and align individual and company-wide goals.
- As part of the push to evolve the recruiting platform, the company redesigned the Linked Recruiter app. The company rebuilt search and messaging features to match the trend that a lot of conversation from recruiters comes on mobile phones after normal business hours.
- LinkedIn is integrating its Talent Insights program, a year-old tool that lets users run reports on individual companies, talent populations, skills and more, into Recruiter. The goal is to provide access to insights about untapped talent pools.
- LinkedIn’s Talent Hub, the company’s nerve center for tracking applicants is now generally available, nearly a year after it was first announced.