We’re experiencing a moment in history, a collective reckoning with the impact of racial oppression that feels both familiar in its tragic frequency and different in its scale and scope. The movement goes beyond the protests of the horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis or Joao Pedro Matos Pinto in Rio de Janeiro, and demands for accountability for those responsible. It represents a global call to overturn systems of inequity that have cost Black people their lives, their freedom, and their access to economic opportunity for centuries.
When we add our voice to the millions who say the simple words “Black Lives Matter,” we do so with intention. We say them in recognition that our justice, education, health, and economic systems have failed the Black community. We say them in rejection of that tragic implication, and to acknowledge that there is a serious problem to be addressed.
And it is our problem to address. As an organization deeply rooted in our vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, we have a responsibility to use our platform and resources to intentionally address the systemic barriers to economic opportunity. Systemic racism is one of the most pernicious barriers that afflicts our global society, and we’ve seen that reality made especially salient in the era of COVID-19. For example, in the U.S., the rate of unemployment for Black people is more than 35% higher than the white unemployment rate according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. And the numbers are rising — more than 3.3 million Black Americans were unemployed in May, compared to 1.2 million in January. In addition to pre-existing disparities in access to healthcare, Black professionals are also disproportionately employed as the essential workers in the economy today.
And while we recognize words and voices matter, we know our actions will speak louder. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll continue sharing the actions we’re taking as a company to combat the unequal access to opportunity, address unfair bias, and level playing fields. Here are a few areas where we will be focused:
[Our Company] We will do the hard work to build an anti-racist culture at LinkedIn, hiring and growing employees from under-represented groups and investing in a diverse and inclusive environment where all talent thrives. This is not a journey we just started, and diversity, inclusion and belonging will continue to be our top talent priority. In the past year, we’ve increased the hiring rate of Black employees by focusing on diverse candidate slates, especially into leadership roles including our Executive Leadership Team. And we’ve expanded our retention and development initiatives, including new investments in onboarding and mentorship. This is progress, but there is a lot more to do. As we move into our new fiscal year, we are doubling down on building a people manager population that’s world class in inclusive leadership, with a company-wide learning curriculum and accountability framework. We will broadly share any successes we see with the goal of raising the collective capabilities of all organizations.
[Our Products and Platform] We will address systemic inequality and unfair bias directly in our products, recognizing the opportunity and responsibility that comes with building a platform for over 690 million professionals connecting with each other, jobs, skills, and critical information. Efforts like Project Every Member ensure what we are building works equally for everyone. This month, we open sourced our code and methodology to help other organizations reduce inequality in their innovation process. We’ll continue scaling Skill Assessments for job seekers, giving candidates from any background an opportunity to compete on a more level playing field. And we’ll continue providing access to critical skills and learning, including free LinkedIn Learning paths on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging and Allyship. We also believe we play a critical role in amplifying Black voices in our feed, on LinkedIn Live and through our editorial Newsletters, and in covering the news and facts that will keep us moving forward. We see and feel the privilege and associated obligation of having the means to make sustainable positive change, and we will keep pushing.
[Our Customers and Partners] We will partner with the 50 million organizations on LinkedIn to help inspire a collective, intentional and meaningful commitment to equity, including providing resources, support and inspiration. Every day on LinkedIn, we see companies sharing how they’re creating open, honest and constructive company cultures and using their products, services and brands to make meaningful change. Recently, we shared how companies can recruit and build more inclusive workforces, frameworks for having difficult conversations, and resources for creating a sense of belonging for employees. We recognize that the products we build are only as good as those who use them to build better outcomes and we’re committed to bringing our communities on the journey with us.
The Black Lives Matter movement has laid bare just how far we collectively have to go, but from this a renewed resolve has emerged. For our employees, our members, our customers, and the millions of people for whom we have not yet–but will one day–create transformational economic opportunity equitably, we say “Black Lives Matter.”