On Building a Diverse Talent Pipeline

Last week, United Airlines announced a new program to “build a diverse pipeline of pilots.”  Beyond the headline, there are two really interesting aspects to this initiative worth highlighting.

First, United is willing to invest millions of dollars training recent college grads from all majors on how to fly its planes.  While piloting a 777 is much different than learning how to do financial analysis or strategic research projects, the underlying thesis is consistent with what investment banks, consulting firms, and other leading companies have recognized for decades: it is better to train recent college grads with strong core skills like communication, adaptability, empathy, and grit, than to hire those who have the technical competency but lack these core skills that lead to long-term success.

Second, in response to pressure that only “7% of its pilots are women and 13% are people of color,” United’s reaction is to start recruiting at three HBCUs.  This seems to be a common strategy as “HBCUs are now dealing with an onslaught of interest from company recruiters.” While it’s wonderful that companies are finally recognizing the incredible skills of HBCU students, they are also finding that simply showing up does not create equitable pathways, nor does it lead to the hiring outcomes they expect.  Whether it’s because of a lack of employer brand equity on the campus or hiring managers’ focus on “traditional” campus recruiting signals, employers need to overcome these obstacles and build real relationships with the students—not just at the HBCUs, but across all universities.

While it’s uncertain if United’s efforts will fly, we do know that Experiential Recruiting is a vital component in addressing these challenges and harnessing these opportunities. Beyond capturing the headlines, this approach provides equitable access to all college students and drives the hiring and diversity outcomes valued by organizations.  Whether you’re already using this approach or want to learn more, check out our website for some best practices. And don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt.

Jeffrey Moss, Founder and CEO


Articles of the Week


United Seeks to Build Its Own Diverse Pipeline of Pilots - WBEZ Chicago

4 reasons to invest in entry-level cloud talent - CIO Dive

What Employers Want - Inside Higher Ed

Why Traditional Internships Aren’t Always an Option - Parker Dewey


United Seeks to Build Its Own Diverse Pipeline of Pilots - WBEZ Chicago

“United Airlines says it will train 5,000 this decade, including taking on applicants with no flying experience, and plans for half of them to be women or people of color.”

As travel begins to rebound, and with a growing pilot shortage across the industry, United is making plans for filling its pipeline with candidates from diverse backgrounds. The airline plans to target students from three HBCUs and offer up scholarship aid to students who might otherwise be barred from the steep price tag—all in hopes of creating more access to the pilot career path for underrepresented candidates.

Related reading: Alternative Approach to College Recruiting Aims to Reduce Cost and Attrition While Improving Diversity


4 reasons to invest in entry-level cloud talent - CIO Dive

“So, how does an industry suddenly create a large number of highly qualified cloud professionals with 15-plus years of experience? It doesn't. Instead, businesses must rethink who they hire and how they train and retain them.”

With the abundance of remote work, “the global IT ecosystem” is more relevant than ever. The industry now faces a COVID-spurred challenge in its shortage of well-seasoned cloud professionals. The solution: hiring and training motivated entry-level talent. This article lays out what these candidates bring to the table, and why it’s worth giving them a shot at your organization.

Related reading: 2021 Top Skills Across Entry-Level Roles: Defining Career Readiness and Success


What Employers Want - Inside Higher Ed

Employers continue to find high value in students developing a ‘broad skill base that can be applied across a range of contexts’...Our results also point to how much fostering mind-sets -- like work ethic and persistence -- matter for workplace success,’ as far as employers are concerned.”

The concept of a liberal arts education has never been without its share of critics—but this AAC&U survey actually suggests that liberal arts skills are valued, and even sought out, in the workplace. Inside Higher Ed breaks down this survey and distills its key takeaways. 

Related reading: How Professional Experiences Support Post-Graduation Success


Why Traditional Internships Aren’t Always an Option - Parker Dewey

“Today’s student...doesn’t fit one singular profile. While internships work for some, they’re not a feasible option for all students—especially those navigating demanding responsibilities, from family to financial to schedule obligations.”

When it comes to gaining professional experience, fulfilling academic requirements, and creating the possibility of landing a full-time role, internships seem to be the ticket—NACE even reports that 70% of companies extend a full-time offer post-internship. But what about students who can’t work for intern pay, commit to a semester- or summer-long program, or commute into an office? This post takes a look at three student groups often excluded from internships—and how Micro-Internships serve as an accessible, flexible alternative.

Related reading: What is a Micro-Internship?


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