Employees are looking everywhere for new job opportunities. Now they’ll be able to listen for them, too.
A new partnership between CareerBuilder and the Black Information Network, a Black-led news network owned by iHeartMedia, is taking to the airwaves to promote job openings for Black employees. The initiative, 100,000 Careers, will run ads, testimonials, career spotlights and expert interviews on major hip-hop, R&B and gospel radio stations, along with an online resource platform with education and career advice for BIPOC job hunters.
“Black Americans’ unemployment rates are higher than the national average,” says Kristin Kelley, chief marketing officer at CareerBuilder. “We want the partnership to help Black Americans navigate the journey of finding that job or that career and find well paying employment opportunities that are stable for them down the road.”
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The Black unemployment rate was 5.9% in April, compared to the national average of 3.6%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a 20-year time span, Black employees will miss out on $2.7 trillion in wages due to the racial pay gap, according to data analysis from CitiBank.
Systemic barriers can hold Black employees back from jobs that may provide long-term economic stability and mobility, says Tony Coles, president of BIN and division president of iHeartMedia.
“They are systemic issues when it comes to recruiting, systemic issues when it comes to advancement,” Coles says. “Having a diverse workplace means there will be different opinions and perspectives, and that might be a challenge to existing ideas and leaders may think they ‘don’t fit.’ But that’s exactly what we need.”
100,000 Careers is hoping to break down those walls. Employees will have access to training and support that will help them find the right opportunities, and teach them how to reframe their experience. CareerBuilder’s resource hub, CoLab, scans jobs based on skills versus job requirements, like a college degree, helping workers expand their expectations.
“It forces you to think outside the boundaries of the natural place you put yourself. Instead of just searching for a job title, let’s look at skills,” Kelley says. “Are you good at time management? Do you have good communication skills? When you search that way, CoLab can find job results that are for different jobs that maybe the individual didn’t think they would be qualified for.”
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Once an employee feels more empowered with the opportunities that are available to them, they’re on the right track for getting that job and succeeding.
“We want them to see a greater pool of opportunity and stretch themselves,” Kelley says. “Then they can really start to understand, how can I step into this industry? Can I make $5 more per hour? What more is possible?”
While the partnership is making these opportunities more visible to Black job seekers, it will take work on HR leaders’ part, too. Recruiters that have typically required education requirements or similar work experience for the role they’re looking to fill will need to change how they approach hiring..
“As employers find talent, it might not be the way they’ve had their muscle memory work in the past,” Kelley says. “We as employers need to retrain ourselves on what is a must and what are the skills we’re actually looking for, and not let some things, like four year degrees for example, hold you back from the pool of people you could have access to.”
Instead of just saying an organization is committed to diversity and inclusion, their actions need to show a commitment to providing opportunities for all, Coles says. Whether they participate with the 100,000 Careers initiative or find other ways to get involved with the Black community, a first step can lead to bigger leaps down the line.
“A lot of employers who want to diversify the workplace don’t know how to, and so out of fear of not getting it right, they don’t try at all. But we have to start somewhere,” Coles says. “We want to help as many listeners as we possibly can and that starts with connecting qualified candidates with organizations that are focused on doing the right thing, hiring the right candidates, but also expanding the pool of talent that they’re looking at.”