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2:00pm - 3:00pm
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It is a changing time in career landscapes. While the unemployment rate is very low (just 3.3% for women ages 20+ as of March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, quit rates are up and many companies have had to up level salaries and benefits to attract candidates. For some, however, the changes they made are not around pay at all. COVID gave us a lot of “ah-ha” moments, and some of those manifested as folks taking jobs with better work/life balance even if they came with a lower salary. For others, it may have meant diversifying the scope of what they do and finding jobs that were more flexible. For recruiters like Emily Neill, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half Executive Search who moderated our panel, this “new normal” meant seeking candidates from across the country and seeing professionals in their 60s consider if they had another chapter of their career in front of them. Emily shares that “60 is the new 30.”
The pandemic has caused women to make career changes into new companies or pivot into entirely new fields (at a unique moment where that is very possible), even within their own organizations as they reconsider what is important to them. If you are trying to do the same, check out the key tips and insights from this session which touches on a variety of topics from what recruiters are looking for, interviewing, how to advocate for yourself within your current organization, setting yourself up for success, and more.
Diversity means more than just ethnic and racial differences. When thinking about how candidates bring diversity to the table, Jacqueline Adams Carey, Senior Director, Recruiter—LGBTQ+ and Women’s Lead at McKinsey & Company, suggests candidates familiarize themselves with their toolkit: “Think about which diverse experiences and viewpoints you bring to the table. Take a step back and consider unique things you bring to an organization—have you had unique travel experiences, are you a parent, did you play a varsity sport? It is about how you frame it.”
Haobo Zuo, Vice President, Director of Business Initiatives at Global Distribution MFS had curiosity and courage. She put her head down, working harder and longer in the hope that the quality of her work would “speak for itself” as she overcame language and culture barriers when she launched her career in the U.S. She has gone on to rise through the ranks in her organization. She cites the 33:1 odds of people of color breaking through to the executive level as a challenge, but one that can be overcome. A career coach gave her a career-changing piece of advice: “Ask colleagues to write down the value you brought to the firm.” The warm words that resulted built confidence as she learned to advocate for herself as a female minority. She encourages others to look for a support network of folks who value them.
Haobo also notes the importance of finding a mentor you have chemistry with. Sometimes companies will assign mentors to you, but Haobo says to, “look for someone you find an important connection with, like someone who also comes from a diverse background. Also, it is not necessarily someone who is older than you, it can also be a peer.” Sue Harvey, Founder & CEO of New Direction Strategy notes that the difference between a coach and a mentor is that “mentors use gained wisdom to share with you, whereas a coach helps understand what you want.” Jacqueline adds that the difference between a sponsor and a mentor is that “a sponsor can pick up the phone and pound the table for you. They are harder to find as they are not built into organic relationships.”
“In this unique market, candidates need to be real with themselves and ask for what they need and deserve without fear holding them back,” shares Jacqueline Adams Carey. She says that candidates who ask for more usually get more. The trouble is that given the lack of transparency around pay, candidates often do not even know what to ask for. They should find colleagues who they trust, inside and outside the company, in similar and aspirational positions, and ask for a pay ballpark that they can use as a guide. They should also go on Glassdoor and familiarize themselves with the market and pay range. It is important, however, to look at compensation holistically. Jacqueline says, “ It’s not just base salary, but also the bonuses, healthcare plan, 401k, stock options, parental leave, PTO, culture, how many hours you’ll be working, and the free time you’ll have if you take the role that are all important and should factor into the decision.”
Your gut is always right. If you think it is time for a change, or time for a promotion, it is. It is important to trust yourself first and foremost, more so than any guidance from others. Haobo shares that for folks thinking about the steps to make a move within their current organization, they should be thinking about, “The three E’s”—experience, exposure (which your manager should be able to help with) and education. It is important to build a reputation of credibility and confidence and showcase your capability and potential to your employer before you seek a promotion or a move within your current organization. Haobo says that you should then ask yourself the following questions:
The number one driver to ensuring you don’t sit in the same role for a long time is strong coaching and guidance. If your boss isn’t mentoring you, find others who can.
The time is now. If you want to pivot, make more money, work for a company on the other side of the country, get your work/life balance in check, get the promotion, or start again in your 60s. Don’t let the unique opportunities in this job market pass you by.