Unemployment, The Talent War, and A New Hope
I was honored to be joined by Matthew Bishop of The Economist this week for our webcast titled ‘Why Nonprofits Increasingly Compete with Google for Talent.’ A fascinating conversation, I split it into three parts: Unemployment, The Talent War, and A New Hope, tracing the themes I’d found in Matthew’s articles (especially The Gross Mismatch ) and two fantastic books – Philanthrocapitalism and his latest, The Road From Ruin . The session was introduced by Caroline Barlerin, our long time partner at HP – we were so grateful to hear her brief thoughts on the talent gap and the importance of pro bono in meeting society’s needs.
While you’ll be able to watch the key sections of this conversation in full shortly, I did want to touch on some of the major takeaways I had during our session. The first – high unemployment rates and competition co-exist – creating a highly consequential dynamic. As Matthew Bishop noted as well, you have young adults who simply aren’t getting experience in the workforce, terrifying as they are the future of our economy. This situation could have serious consequences – stunting the growth of the next generation of society’s leaders.At the same time, it goes without saying that the effect of unemployment means a great strain on the resources of the nonprofit sector.
Nonprofit talent gap
So how do we meet society’s needs? This led us to act two: the Talent War. I proposed it was getting more and more difficult to get the right people on the bus for nonprofits. Bishop noted, however, that there are many different ways to seek out the talent you need to meet that strain, from the high impact philanthropy he has discussed in his book Philanthrocapitalism to tapping into the prestige of working to solve society’s toughest problems. I pushed back on this, as I heard in many discussions this week that our sector’s leaders are still finding it harder and harder to recruit the top talent we need, especially when it comes to the technology professionals we require in order to scale our efforts. At the same time, as I noted in my post, It’s Harder to Run a Nonprofit than a Company this week on Huffington Post, nonprofit leaders truly ought to be held in the highest regard – perhaps if we lauded nonprofit leaders more, we would have fewer challenges finding that talent?
Finally, we closed with Act Three: A New Hope. Matthew Bishop brought to the table his hopes for the future and how we can start to meet the challenges our society will face. I proposed that pro bono is a valuable way both for corporations to attract and retain talent and a way for nonprofits to meet their needs, which he agreed was compelling. This part of the discussion you’ll want to stay tuned for – it’s worth listening in full.