Editorial: LinkedIn may limit prospects for new members of workforce


LinkedIn is planning to team up with employers in order to resolve issues regarding retaining qualified employees within companies that are losing their best and brightest to competitors.

The proposal comes in light of a survey LinkedIn administered that studied why employees left their most recent jobs and how frequently employees searched for opportunities at other firms while employed, among other issues. The results showed that employees most often left their jobs for better wages and benefits or because of an inability to advance in the company at which they were employed.

LinkedIn, which already provides millions of users with a professional networking platform, is hoping to create an internal roster of sorts for companies to look within their own ranks for employees to fill open positions, allowing them to move laterally or upwardly within the company. The problem with this proposal is that while employers don’t often look in their own backyard when searching to fill positions, creating an internal roster could discourage employers from looking into high-achieving, highly employable groups of people — namely, the demographics that have high unemployment rates such as minorities and college graduates.

LinkedIn’s initiative to create a system for employers to see the strengths and qualifications of their own employees can help to retain employees. However, this, over an extended period of time, may restrict new and otherwise diverse talent from entering the workplace. If employers focus too much on replacing open positions within their company with existing employees, they may overlook outside talent that could be a better fit.

What is more, internal applicants already have the upper hand in terms of these job openings. They were hired by that company, they’re familiar with the environment and are more likely to be alerted to job openings before outside candidates. This knowledge and experience is highly valuable when employers look to fill positions because it saves them both time and money. 

For those entering the work force, individual experience and expertise may or may not qualify them to fill openings in companies. But this proposed system could drive employers to attribute less significance to these outside applicants’ qualifications, thereby putting them at a serious disadvantage. And with the job market already notoriously difficult for demographics such as college graduates and minorities to navigate, an additional barrier that will further complicate the process of getting a foot in the door will only increase the already high unemployment rate among these demographics.

While LinkedIn is providing a service that can help human resources departments retain the experience of their employees, those departments, and their respective companies, must not forget that new faces can provide the growth and innovation they need to prosper.