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LinkedIn to address inequality with new push to close ‘networking gap’ for users – GeekWire

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LinkedIn wants to reduce inequality among its member base by taking on the so-called “networking gap” — advantages some people have based on who they know — with a new push to help people broaden their connections, according to a new report from Axios.

For much of its history, the Microsoft-owned social network has focused on connecting people to others they already know. Axios reports LinkedIn is set to turn that model on its head by encouraging users to connect with new people, which the company hopes will boost job prospects for those lacking strong networks.

In a keynote at the company’s Talent Connect conference Thursday, Axios reports LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will encourage people to take the company’s Plus One Pledge “to share your time, talent, or connections with people outside your network who may not have access to the same resources you do.” The move comes as LinkedIn is putting a greater emphasis on the consequences of its products by looking at how they affect inequality among members.

We’ve reached out to LinkedIn for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

Having connections within a company remains the best way to get a job, and that’s a big reason why LinkedIn wants to bolster user networks. Axios sites LinkedIn data showing that a person is six times more likely to get a job at a company if they have a connection there. An internal referral makes it nine times more likely the person will land the position.

Earlier this month LinkedIn unveiled a set of new standardized tests to let users prove how skilled they are in a variety of areas. Axios points to this program, LinkedIn Skill Assessments, as another way people who lack extensive networks can position themselves as strong job candidates.

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