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    Entries in LinkedIn (13)

    Friday
    Oct212016

    REMINDER: LinkedIn is still not the real world

    In what has become an annual tradition on the blog, as beloved as the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, or me passing out on the sofa in a turkey/stuffing coma each Thanksgiving, I wanted to offer my quick reminder that the world of LinkedIn has only a partial, if not passing, resemblance to the real world of work, workplaces, and the kinds of jobs most people have.

    What prompts this regular reflection and reminder? As in years past, (here is what I wrote about this last winter), LinkedIn has released what they call 'The Top Skills That Can Get You Hired in 2017', based on their data set of member profiles, job posting activity, and their assessment of the candidate skills that were more likely to generate recruiter interest and hiring activity. They publish this list of 'top' skills both globally, and for a selection of countries and more or less the narrative that follows is something along the lines of 'If you want to get hired next year, you should try to acquire one (or more) of these skills.'

    Here is the list of these 'top' skills for the USA for 2017, per LinkedIn:

    As has been the case in the last couple of years, these 'hot' skills are dominated by the latest in IT trends and innovations. Cloud computing, user interface, algorithm design, etc., are all skills (and roles), that have certainly seen an increase in employer demand, and is often reported, can be difficult to find in candidates. So simple supply (which is not enough), and demand, (which continues to increase), for these skills naturally make them 'hot' and the folks that possess them remaining in demand.

    Makes sense. Good to know. Interesting to think about if you are just starting your career and want to have at least some level of comfort about your chances of employment.

    But as I like to point out, and did the last time LinkedIn shared with us what was 'hot',  these skills, or said slightly differently, the kinds of jobs that require these skills, still make up a really, really small percentage of overall employment in the USA, and are not the ones that the vast majority of people are doing.

    Here's the latest data that is available from our pals at the Bureau of Labor Statistics on 'Major Occupational Groups as a Percentage of Employment', (from 2015):

    Did you see the grouping for 'Computer and Mathematical', where the majority of jobs that required most of the 2017 LinkedIn 'hot' skills would typically reside?

    It is down towards the bottom of the graph just after 'Personal care and service' and before 'Healthcare support'. If you go to the actual BLS data, 'Computer and Mathematical' makes up 2.9% of all jobs in the USA, about the same as it has been the last couple of years.

    Even allowing for the fact that some of the 'hot' skills would be in demand in other general employment categories, is still stands to reason that just about all of the jobs where these skills are being sought out for represent, still, a sliver of the US labor market, and do not reflect the jobs that the vast majority of people are actually doing, (and will be doing for some time).

    Sure, it is trendy to think that the LinkedIn skills represent the future of work, and perhaps they probably do, and I would encourage anyone, especially younger folks to think about pursuing them,  but these skills don't really represent the 'present' of work, not in a substantial way anyway.

    LinkedIn is a fantastic business, a staggering success, and not at all like the real world where the overwhelming majority of workers reside.

    Have a fantastic weekend And don't spend so much time on LinkedIn.

    Thursday
    Jun162016

    The obligatory Microsoft - LinkedIn take

    If you regularly write or otherwise opine about technology, HR, HR tech, recruiting, or pretty much anything to do with enterprise technology, then Al Gore and the rest of the creators of the internet have decreed that you must have some kind of a take, any kind at all really, about this week's big news of Microsoft announcing its plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26B large.

    So while EVERYONE else has probably weighed in on this a couple of days ago and the immediate window for 'newsy' analysis is past, I am going to direct my take in a slightly different direction.

    Aside - before getting to my point I just have to laugh (once again), at all the experts and analysts and pundits who within hours of this announcement somehow were able to crank out 1,000 words explaining to the rest of us what this news really meant. No one, I mean NO ONE, was thinking about Microsoft making this move before it was announced, then to suddenly act as if you have it all worked out within an hour is laughable. And also a little insulting. And like this take, everyone will forget what you wrote after the fact. Tell us it's going to happen BEFORE it happens sometime and you will impress us. All of us can wax profound after the fact. Ok, rant over.

    There was one slide in the official Microsoft public presentation and announcement on Monday that really caught my attention and that of all of this, might be the most interesting aspect of this deal in the coming years. Here's the slide from MSFT, then some free-range, organic, farm-raised comments from me.

    Since the quality of the image isn't all that great, I want to repeat the key part of the text on the left side of the slide - "There is no one source of truth for an individual (that's me and you by the way), profile... In the future, a professionals profile will be unified..."

    Those are the lines that I noticed the most in the entire announcement, and here's why I think they are interesting and potentially troubling for MSFT, for your organization, and for all of us as professionals.

    Why? Three reasons...

    1. While just about all of us have come to a reluctant realization that we probably should and do have a reasonably complete professional profile and history on LinkedIn, that realization comes from years of consideration about LinkedIn, and what LinkedIn was doing with our data. We may not love the fact that LinkedIn became a $26B company largely on the value of our profile information we supplied (for free), but we came to decide the personal value to us was at least worth the tradeoff that has now made lots of LinkedIn investors rich.

    But will we be ok making those same kinds of tradeoffs knowing 'our' data and profiles are now owned by Microsoft? Will the 400M or so users be readily willing to give Microsoft the same kind of pass that we gave LinkedIn, given the perceived value to us? I am not so sure. Or at least I am not that sure it's a given that people already on LinkedIn won't be too bothered by this. And I know it is not a given that people who ar not yet on LinkedIn won't be given at least some pause turning over their profiles and history to an even more gigantic company in Microsoft.

    2. From an organizational standpoint, just how excited are you as an HR or business leader with Microsoft's plan to make its (LinkedIn/Office/Skype/Whatever else they have) data become the "unified" professional profile for your employees? Aren't you at least a little bit concerned by having more and more of your employee's data about what they are working on and who they are collaborating with becoming at least potentially part of some LinkedIn-based unified and possibly public profile? Are you sure that this won't be even more of a competitive issue for you and your organization? There are still companies and leaders that would prefer their employees not be on LinkedIn at all - so they are not as likely to be recruited away by a competitor. 

    3. Finally, from a personal angle how much do most professionals want their current organization to be even more aware of what an employee is doing on LinkedIn? Would you somehow get 'red flagged' as a flight risk if Microsoft's big data engine spots and alerts your organization's management that you recently looked at an external job posting or have just connected with two or three third-party recruiters? I know some of what all of us do on LinkedIn is potentially visible to our current management and company, but an even more embedded and universal profile (LinkedIn based), that in theory becomes the de facto internal corporate identity as well just exposes more and more of your LinkedIn actions to your employer, whether or not you want that exposure or not.

    Ok, that's it for me, let me know what you think - am I wrong to not be leading the cheers for this acquisition?

    Thursday
    Jan142016

    Your annual reminder that LinkedIn is not where most people live and work

    Recently, LinkedIn released its list of The 25 Skills That Can Get You Hired in 2016, their assessment based on recruiter, jobseeker, and LinkedIn member activity and profile updates of the 'hottest' skills that their data suggest will be the ones that offer workers the best chance of getting hired or promoted in 2016. Here is the list of these 'hottest' skills as per our pals at LinkedIn:

    Pretty impressive set of skills indeed. From Data Mining to Cloud Computing to Mobile Development and User Experience Design - the list hits just about all of the current and certainly 'hot' trends in technology and business in the last few years. And as LinkedIn rightly state in their analysis of this data, these skills are likely to remain in demand for some time, at least a few years for sure.

    But as I wrote on this blog about 12 months ago when LinkedIn published their list of 'hot' skills for 2015, it is pretty easy to be beguiled by these kinds of lists, particularly when juxtaposing the LinkedIn set of hot skills with the Bureau of Labor Statistics data about what kinds of jobs people actually do, (at least in the USA).

    From our pals at the BLS, here is a chart from May 2014, (the latest period when this data is available), which shows occupations with the largest employment in the USA. Take a look at the data, then a few quick FREE comments from me after the chart.

    Did you catch some differences between what gets people hired, at least people who are on LinkedIn, and the kinds of jobs that are held by the largest numbers of people in the USA? These Top 10 occupations make up about 21% of overall US employment, in case you were wondering, down only 1% from last year in case you were wondering.

    Wonder how far down on the BLS list (and you can check the full list of occupations as defined by the BLS here), you have to go before you run in to 'Cloud and Distributed Computing' and 'Statistical Analysis and Data Mining', the top 'hot' skills for 2016 as per LinkedIn?  

    I will save you a click and let you know that all the occupations that the BLS rolls up into 'Computer and Mathematical Operations', (where most of LinkedIn's Top Hot skills would likely map), account for about 3.8M workers, that is just under 3% of all the jobs in the country, just about the same as it was last year. Sure, it is trendy to think that the LinkedIn skills represent the future of work, and perhaps they probably do, but they don't really represent the 'present' of work, not in a substantial way anyway.

    LinkedIn is a fantastic business, a staggering success, and not at all like the real world where the overwhelming majority of workers reside.

    Have a fantastic day. And don't spend so much time on LinkedIn.

    Tuesday
    Jun092015

    VIDEO: Does your LinkedIn profile sound like this?

    It is Tuesday, it is not quite Summer yet but you are thinking about vacation, and it is probably a little tough to get it going today. What you need is a break. And a laugh as well. 

    So take 5 minutes and check out the hilarious 'LinkedIn OUT LOUD!' video (embedded below, email and RSS subscribers will need to click through), and marvel at what some, (hopefully not your), LinkedIn profiles actually sound like when read aloud by comic actors:

    Awesome, and all too true as the source material comes from actual LinkedIn profiles. 

    It was worth the 5 minutes right? Now you can go back to being a results oriented, customer-focused, global operator.

    Happy Tuesday.

    Wednesday
    Apr022014

    A funny reminder of what normals think about many of us

    I am pretty sure my favorite, offbeat website is Dinosaur Comics. I know I have blogged at least a couple of times over the years with a take on something interesting that the genius behind Dinosaur Comics, Ryan North has posted.  And his idea, a comic series where the pictures, panels, and layouts are exactly the same every day, but with the topics and dialog between the two characters changing, is really unique and remarkable.

    Recently, Dinosaur Comics took on the topic of HR and Recruiting's favorite sourcing and people research tool, LinkedIn. Take a look at what two comic dinosaurs think about LinkedIn, and then I (natch) will have a couple of comments after the comic.

    Really funny, right? But to paraphrase the great Joe Pesci in Goodfellas - how is it funny? And should we really care beyond laughing? A couple of quick thoughts:

    1. 'Normals', i.e. people who don't live and die all day long on LinkedIn, are not all that concerned with their 'personal brand', and don't actually feel like their job is the most important thing about them likely make up the majority of your workforce.

    2. Most of these people, I think, are not at all comfortable with the notion that the divide or the separation between 'work' and 'not working' is diminishing (or even disappearing). Lots and lots of solid and even outstanding performers are not thinking about work after 5PM. And they are not spending their weekends sending LinkedIn connection requests. They are, once again, 'normal.'

    3. HR and Recruiting people love to tell everyone who will listen that 'They need to be on LinkedIn' and offer endless tips and tricks so that people can 'Get the most out of their LinkedIn profile'. They do this for primarily self-serving reasons - they want the full range of people that they someday might be interested in contacting about job opportunities to be easily findable and contactable, (facilitated by tossing a few $$ to LinkedIn). I wish some honest recruiter would just post an article that says 'If you ever want to be considered for a job at my company, here is what I expect to see on your LinkedIn profile.' But instead we get dozens and dozens of pieces about 'optimization' tips. So boring.

    I don't mean to take shots at LinkedIn, I am a long-time user and have gotten some value out of that over the years. But I also think it has become too easy (and lazy) to have one and only one source for universal professional information. And one that normal people don't really understand as well.