Finding a new job, or changing your existing job for career advancement comes with significant challenges. As the pool of aspirants is hugely competitive, recruiters analyze your resume along with your past professional experiences and social presence. So, you’ve to stand out from the crowd to make your dreams come true. Today, a majority of the recruitment agencies and employers are utilizing social media to find the right employee, which means social media plays a crucial role in your job search endeavor.
Social networking sites have become a significant platform to advertise your skills. They empower you to identify job opportunities, establish your social presence, network with people in your niche online and finally, turn those leads into actual job opportunities. Job searching has changed significantly over the last few years. These days, applicants don’t need to wait for the Sunday newspaper to search the job section for ideal opportunities.
It’s a commonly asked question that despite having various online recruitment platforms such as Monster, Recruiter, Ladders that demonstrate almost every kind of job listing and deliver your CV automatically to the recruiters, do you really need to utilize social media to get a new job? Well, according to a study conducted in September 2015 by the Society for Human Resource Management, 19 percent of recruiters hired from Facebook, 57 percent of them hired from LinkedIn while 65 percent of them utilized some mode of social media to recruit. Through this post, we’ll discuss how you can have a fruitful job search by using social media.
1. Build your online presence
When prospective employers Google your name, what would they find? This is something you have to meticulously look at because these days, most recruiters use Google to search the profile of their prospective job candidates to see what comes up. If the search results show some unprofessional posts or pictures, then it’s time to revamp your online image. In the same context, a significant number of job searchers believe that LinkedIn alone can help you find your dream job and lead you to an interview. While this platform is the most useful choice, you simply can’t undermine the significance of Facebook and Twitter.
It’s important to note that employers usually use LinkedIn for assessment of skills and Facebook for your personality evaluation. Thus, it makes sense to update both platforms regularly to attain the best results. However, regardless of the platform you use, make sure to create professional and compelling looking profiles that exhibit your varied skills, job history and the recognition you’ve got. Your profile have to be strong enough to make prospective employers interested at the first glance as then only will they invest further time to explore the rest of your details. If you don’t hold a LinkedIn account, make sure to fill the gap by using your Facebook account completely. Mention your job regularly on Facebook and share the things you’ve accomplished. Remember – if you can’t resist yourself from posting something negative about your job, ensure the privacy settings for those posts aren’t set to public.
2. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
With approximately 400 million global members, LinkedIn has become the largest professional social site across the world. With most of the hiring managers, head-hunters and leading recruiters actively searching for potential candidates on LinkedIn each day, it makes sense to have a solid presence on this site. Your LinkedIn profile is quite similar to writing your online resume. However, the advanced technology aspects of this platform provide you with some other highly useful features such as “Endorsements”. LinkedIn allows you to incorporate personal testimonials. So, ask your friends, manager, colleagues or customers to write a few positive lines about your capabilities on your profile page.
Your first step is to make sure that your profile is impressive, searchable and professional. Regularly update your profile with new skills, tweak the texts for easy reading and include industry buzzwords that employers will be looking for. Remember that the content of your profile shouldn’t just contain your skills but also demonstrate the impact you’ve created on your previous employers so that head-hunters can easily understand the advantage of bringing you on board.
Add a suitable picture to your profile to develop trust with others online. Use a picture that mirrors how you’d look at the workplace and stay away from uploading pictures from casual nights out. Now, start building a professional network by connecting with recruiters, hiring managers and colleagues in your industry. The more connection you have, the more your opportunities will be. So, connect with as many relevant people as you can.
3. Create a professional Facebook profile
Although Facebook is quite an informal medium and mainly used by people to connect with family and friends, it’s being used by various companies too for commercial purposes. Some of them use it to communicate with their customers, staff and the wider audience (to receive their views and comments as well as respond to their feedback etc), while some others use it to vet and recruit potential candidates. Remember that boundaries on Facebook between personal and professional matters are quite blurred, which makes it important to be always aware of what kind of information about yourself can be viewed and by whom.
From a job searcher’s viewpoint, Facebook can be quite useful as you can ask your personal contacts for advice and information about your job search or career and even find valuable information on both organizations and individuals. The informal and interactive nature of this site empowers you to obtain information as well as communicate with prospective employers in a manner that may not be possible elsewhere. Here are some things you can do to optimize your Facebook profile.
- Professionalize your profile and set the privacy settings the right way
- Develop your network by joining relevant groups
- Apply for jobs through the “Facebook Marketplace”
- Start discussions with organizations and people in your industry
Facebook can be significantly useful for learning about your future employer but you need to be cautious about posting unfiltered comments as that may cost you your career.
4. Connect with potential recruiters on Twitter
Although Twitter isn’t a professional networking social media site as such, still there are many ways you can reap the benefits of this platform to find job opportunities and connect with professionals. It’s a platform mainly used by people to exchange and post short messages. It’s used to interact with other organizations or people the users find useful or interesting, including attaching photos or links that users want to share with their respective Twitter community. Businesses utilize Twitter to advocate their expertise, services and attract people to visit their site. When using this platform for your job search, you’ve to be professional. Remember that when you’re trying to grab the attention of prospective recruiters, you must represent yourself in a professional and attractive way.
One major benefit of Twitter is its support for free flowing communication that empowers you to directly talk to potential hiring managers and recruiters without having to submit your resume first. In your job hunting endeavor, a significant percentage of your tweets, re-tweets as well as replies should concentrate on the topics which are relevant to the organizations you wish to work for. It’s also a great platform to listen to what people are talking about your future company.
5. Engage with different people in your domain
Only increasing your visibility and activity on various social media platforms won’t help you much when it comes to finding the right job. Gone are those days when you had to put in a lot of work to ask your friends about their connections and where they work to reach prospective employers. Now, you can simply tap your social media networks to find out all the information you need to find your dream job. This could mean anything from getting introduced to the hiring managers at the organizations you wish to work for, get an insiders’ view about the work culture prevalent in your dream company, or much more.
Today, social media has become your own research laboratory as long as you use it in the right way. There are various ways to leverage the benefits of social media platforms. For instance, on Facebook, “like” the pages of organizations you want to work for and join conversations about current industry trends. Follow the same organizations on Twitter and LinkedIn as well so that you become automatically updated about the new recruits as well as product developments.
Accept follow/connection request from all actual people as you never know how a new connection will help you in your job search. It’s rather difficult to obtain a cold contact’s email address when compared to the chances of finding him/her on social media platforms. So, don’t hesitate to send direct messages to cold contacts on Twitter or invite them to connect on LinkedIn to build your network and give momentum to your job search.
6. Demonstrate your expertise
Most people who use social media hold a “what’s in it for me?” sort of mentality and here’s how you can stand out from your competitors. Help people by providing links to important content, answering their queries etc. If you can regularly connect with people on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you’ll be able to build your own brand image on these platforms. You can also find the groups where your industry members are present. Join those groups and introduce yourself to other members. And don’t forget the power of blogging.
Writing a post on your industry-relevant topic shows prospective employers that you’re knowledgeable, have a serious and focused outlook, and have strong communication skills. Remember that your tweets, posts and status updates are platforms to exhibit your knowledge on a certain topic and thus demonstrate your expertise.
Attend related events and conferences and post takeaways. In case you don’t have your personal blog or website, you can use LinkedIn Pulse to post your write-ups and receive a significant number of views, comments and likes from people belonging to different verticals. Your never know – your article could be re-posted and you might grab the attention of a prospective hiring manager or recruiter.
7. Follow industry news
There isn’t a single social media platform that alone works the best for all job searchers. The crucial thing is to identify which platforms are mostly utilized by your industry. Try to find out the latest occurrences by joining specialized groups on social media platforms, signing up for newsletters, participating in various discussion forums and following your industry related blogs. These will help you to stay updated about the latest industry trends and information, thus improving your chances to make connections that might result in job leads.
Following organizations on various social media platforms provides you with current news about them, in addition to disclosing the hot topics and trends prevalent in your industry. You need to be updated about these patterns and discuss them in your network so that you can exhibit yourself as an informed professional with an insider’s edge and come across as someone who is up-to-date about the important happenings taking place in your niche or the industry.
All these will help build trust among your network and let you emerge as a dependable name, who may get noted or recommended for vacant job positions. In addition, when you’re writing your resume, LinkedIn profile or cover letter, you should mention jargon from your industry. This becomes particularly advantageous if you’re waiting to be found by recruiters or hiring managers on LinkedIn.
Now that you know how to use social media to your advantage for landing the dream job, go ahead and put these tips to good use to turbo-charge your job search.
Why Efforts to Hire and Maintain the Best Staff Can Be Critical for Nonprofits
While a well-seasoned and dedicated staff can be a terrific resource for any business, hiring the right professional to fill a position can be an even more important concern for nonprofits. Lacking the funds and additional resources of their commercial counterparts and competitors can place many nonprofits at a distinct disadvantage. By addressing the issues and specific problems that those employed by a nonprofit are most likely to encounter, employers may be able to minimize turnover and transform their existing staff into their greatest asset.
Drive, Dedication and Vision
Professionals whose ambition only extends to themselves can a major liability for nonprofits. Without the need to build value for their shareholders, nonprofit organizations must rely on their staff to provide them with the vision and drive they need to be effective. Pairing workers who are dedicated to an idea that is greater than themselves with an organization able to provide them with the agency needed to make a difference can be of paramount importance, especially for nonprofits who have suffered from lackluster performance or that may have begun to stagnate.
Generating Momentum and Inertia Internally
Employees, workers and professional associates who are able to generate the momentum needed to enact real and lasting change are often the heart of any successful nonprofit. The conventional business models that are so often utilized by commercial businesses place often place the bulk of their focus on the mid and upper-level managers and supervisors who are tasked with creating and implementing new policies. Nonprofits stand to benefit by shifting their focus to the workers who do the actual heavy lifting and who take on the more mundane day to day tasks. Dedicated workers can provide their employers and organizations with the momentum and inertia they need in order to continue operating effectively.
Going the Extra Mile
Finding employees who are willing to go the extra mile can be a difficult proposition for any organization that lacks the funds and financial resources needed to provide a more competitive salary. Individuals who are committed to reaching loftier goals or unlocking their full professional for reasons that extend beyond mere financial reward are not a resource that nonprofits can afford to take lightly. A little extra effort is often the missing component when it comes to finding solutions to a stubborn problem or overcoming an obstacle that might otherwise end up limiting other opportunities and future success. Workers who are determined to keep their organization going and employers who need their employees to give it their all both need to understand the value of going the extra mile.
Optimizing Existing Resources
Having to make due with shortages of finances and other key resources is often a concern that is all too familiar to many nonprofit organizations. While boosting efficiency and finding ways to curb waste can help commercial organizations to enjoy greater profitability, such efforts are often essential for ensuring the very survival of a nonprofit. Whether it’s finding the best accounting software for nonprofits in order to ensure more accurate bookkeeping or identifying the ways in which financial resources may be best utilized, making the most of their existing resources is a concern that organizations would do well to prioritize.
Long-term Success Begins During the Hiring Process
A nonprofit is only as good as its employees and being able to identify the right fit or a good match often means a great deal. For employers, educating prospective employees and applicants regarding the nature of nonprofit work is often a smart move. Applicants, candidates and even unpaid volunteers who wish to see their organization succeed need to recognize that their passion, aspiration and drive can often be just as important as any skills or expertise they may bring to the table. Cultivating the right staff and making the most out of their existing employees can allow organizations to more easily overcome the obstacles created due to limited funds and resource scarcity.
Networking – The Best Way to Keep Learning on the Job
Like most comms professionals, I have a curiosity about learning. Be it about the latest craze on social media, or the newest news platform that I could try and get my organisation into.
I have been fairly diligent about keeping my skills set up-to-date. Regularly attending industry training courses, as well as embarking on a post-grad a few years back while juggling the demands of a busy role.
What’s struck me, however, is that the most profound learning comes from something far less slick than formal qualifications and training sessions, and that’s networking with our peers.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked across a number of sectors having moved from the arts, to education, to health, back to education, and then back to health – you get the theme – and now into the children’s sector now into the children’s sector where I work as Communications Manager at CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland).
With each move, I’ve managed to make connections with my counterparts at other organisations. By regularly keeping in touch with them, occasionally meeting up for a coffee, you can gain so much knowledge from each other by comparing notes, woes, and inspirations all in a oner. It really is cathartic. I would urge anyone to get to know their equivalent elsewhere, you never know when you might need them.
In the earlier stages of my career, I established a useful working relationship with a colleague at another institution. Given the supposed ‘rivalry’ between the institutions we worked for (I’m not naming names!) we had to use judgment and discretion when it came to information sharing. There was a real value to us being able to use each other as a sounding board for managing difficult media requests. On one funny occasion, we both spoke to each other mobile to mobile from our respective toilets!
Peer-to-peer learning comes in many forms and guises. An occasional and irregular meeting to talk shop, can lead to bigger plans for shared learning.
From Networking to Communities of Practice
I moved into a job promoting a brand new museum and gallery in central London some years back. Having attended a meeting on Southbank of arts PRs, I was vocal about the need to develop something a little more formal for us to keep abreast of what was happening in our tiny sector of comms professionals. What emerged from this was a working group of budding volunteers, and the establishment of a national conference where like-minded colleagues from throughout the country got together to learn from each other, and hear insights from those at the top of our industry.
What we didn’t realise at the time of its formation was that we really were a Community of Practice in the making (NB ‘Community of Practice’ is the slightly more academic/formal term for networking with peers.
New Year’s Resolution
One of my new year’s resolutions for 2018 is to help keep a network of comms professionals going in the children’s sector in Scotland. We are a varied bunch – from third sector organisations and campaign groups, to academic centres, NGOs and colleagues working in government – but we have much in common: our values as organisations; keeping our comms relevant to our intended audiences; and the need to embrace new and emerging technology.
Anyone wanting to know more, do be in touch.
Transformational Leadership in the Context of Social Work
Social work leadership has transformed into actual practice from research. While the primary definition of transformational leadership remains the same, researchers and experts believe its practical implications show more promising and better results – especially in the context of social work.
Leaders who work in close collaboration with their subordinates to achieve a common goal is what transformational leadership is all about. However, when it comes to its implications, a real transformational leader possesses specific behaviors and traits beyond that definition. He or she is someone who does not only work with the team but also motivates and inspires an organization to work towards a shared vision.
For a leader to do that, he or she must have the inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, body language, and individual consideration for the society as a whole. When it comes to social work, the vision does not only limit to the group members but people beyond that.
For all these reasons, transformation leadership remains an imperative factor for the success at individual, organizational, and societal levels.
Traits of Transformation Leadership That Are Important in Context of Social Work
Social work in itself is a transformed organization. The way social campaigns are led has changed substantially with regards to how leaders should act. The effort and contribution of transformational leaders help in creating a work environment where the team members are committed to what they are assigned. Leaders support interactions to ensure providing stability to the employees and other team members working in favor of the organization.
Here are the top transformational leadership traits that give social work its best form.
Development and Growth on an Individual Level
The best leadership traits are those that help an individual with self-actualization. Referring to the hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow, self-actualization stands at the top of the pyramid because it enables an individual to see beyond their self-interest and work in favor of the people around.
This helps transformational leaders to work selflessly with the values and vision of the team as a whole, including the society. It’s the growth factor that facilitates him/her for this moral development and principles.
Transformational leaders have subordinates and team members who perform beyond expectations. Research reveals that organizations, where transformational leaders are utilized, have better outcomes than planned.
The sense of trust and sustainability from the authority is a useful motivational factor that influences team members to outperform themselves every time. As a result, the overall performance of the organization and its contribution towards the shared vision also improves.
Organizational Change and Development
While transformational leadership has a clearly defined structure, it has an impact on every level of the organization. When it comes to team motivation, it helps the member become more inspiring, stimulating, and caring especially concerning their learning and working environment.
In short, it won’t be an exaggeration to state that transformational leadership has a ‘falling dominos effect’ on each department and the entire organization. While at authority level it helps with setting the vision and direction of the organization, at employee levels, it sets out the outlines for operations.
The phenomenon helps the company meet new challenges and perform better than expectations.
The Application is wider than Social Work
Society is and will always remain one of the most crucial areas where transformational leadership plays its role. However, the overall implication of the idea is much broader than that.
A variety of settings can benefit from the positive traits and behaviors of transformational leadership. Whether it is health care, nursing, education, or finance, the idea has proved more effective than any other form of leaderships. In addition to social work, it can also be applied to industrial and militaristic settings.
Since transformational leadership encourages the values of the people around, it plays a vital role in areas like social justice, equity, personal empowerment, self-knowledge, service, citizenship, and collaboration. This phenomenon can completely reshape the goals and how teams and organizations work and can also be used in conjunction with other leadership styles for better outcomes.
Abusive Bosses Experience Short-Lived Benefits
Being a jerk to your employees may actually improve your well-being, but only for a short while, suggests new research on abusive bosses co-authored by a Michigan State University business scholar.
Bullying and belittling employees starts to take its toll on a supervisor’s mental state after about a week, according to the study, which is published in the Academy of Management Journal.
“The moral of the story is that although abuse may be helpful and even mentally restorative for supervisors in the short-term, over the long haul it will come back to haunt them,” said Russell Johnson, MSU associate professor of management and an expert on workplace psychology.
While numerous studies have documented the negative effects of abusive supervision, some bosses nevertheless still act like jerks, meaning there must be some sort of benefit or reinforcement for them, Johnson said.
Indeed, the researchers found that supervisors who were abusive felt a sense of recovery because their boorish behavior helped replenish their mental energy and resources. Johnson said it requires mental effort to suppress abusive behavior – which can lead to mental fatigue – but supervisors who act on that impulse “save” the mental energy that would otherwise have been depleted by refraining from abuse.
Johnson and colleagues conducted multiple field and experiments on abusive bosses in the United States and China, verifying the results were not culture-specific. They collected daily survey data over a four-week period and studied workers and supervisors in a variety of industries including manufacturing, service and education.
The benefits of abusive supervision appeared to be short-lived, lasting a week or less. After that, abusive supervisors started to experience decreased trust, support and productivity from employees – and these are critical resources for the bosses’ recovery and engagement.
According to the study, although workers may not immediately confront their bosses following abusive behavior, over time they react in negative ways, such as engaging in counterproductive and aggressive behaviors and even quitting.
To prevent abusive behavior, the researchers suggest supervisors take well-timed breaks, reduce their workloads and communicate more with their employees. Communicating with workers may help supervisors by releasing negative emotions through sharing, receiving social support and gaining relational energy from their coworkers.
Co-authors are Xin Qin from Sun Yat-sen University, Mingpeng Huang from the University of International Business and Economics, Qiongjing Hu from Peking University and Dong Ju from Communication University of China.
Insult to Injury: U.S. Workers Without Paid Sick Leave Suffer from Mental Distress
Only seven states in the United States have mandatory paid sick leave laws; yet, fifteen states have passed preemptive legislation prohibiting localities from passing sick leave. Despite this resistance, paid sick leave is starting to gain momentum as a social justice issue with important implications for health and wellness. But what are the implications for the mental well-being of Americans without paid sick leave? Little was known about their relationship until now.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University and Cleveland State University are the first to explore the link between psychological distress and paid sick leave among U.S. workers ages 18-64. Results of their study, published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, illuminate the effects of exacerbated stress on Americans without paid sick leave who are unable to care for themselves or their loved ones without fear of losing wages or their jobs.
The researchers found that workers without paid sick leave benefits reported a statistically significant higher level of psychological distress. They also are 1.45 times more likely to report that their distress symptoms interfere “a lot” with their daily life and activities compared to workers with paid sick leave. Those most vulnerable: young, Hispanic, low-income and poorly educated populations.
“Given the disproportionate access to paid sick leave based on race, ethnicity and income status, coupled with its relationship to health and mental health, paid sick leave must be viewed as a health disparity as well as a social justice issue,” said LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., co-author of the study and an associate professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within FAU’s College for Design and Social Inquiry. “Even modest increases in psychological distress are noteworthy for both researchers and policy makers since we know that even small increases in stress can impact health.”
The study included 17,897 respondents from the National Health Interview Survey(NHIS), administered by the U.S. government since 1957 to examine a nationally representative sample of U.S. households about health and sociodemographic variables.
“For many Americans, daily life itself can be a source of stress as they struggle to manage numerous responsibilities including health related issues,” said Patricia Stoddard-Dare, Ph.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of social work at Cleveland State University. “Making matters worse, for those who lack paid sick leave, a day away from work can mean lost wages or even fear of losing one’s job. These stressors combined with other sources of stress have the potential to interfere with workplace performance and impact overall mental health.”
The researchers used the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), considered the gold standard for assessing psychological distress in population-based samples in the U.S. and internationally. With a theoretical range of 0 to 24, higher scores on the K6 represent increased psychological distress and scores above 13 are correlated with having a mental disorder of some type.
Results from the study showed that those with paid sick leave had a lower mean distress score compared to those without paid sick leave, who had significantly higher K6 scores, indicating a higher level of psychological distress. Only 1.4 percent of those with paid sick leave had a K6 score above 12 compared to 3.1 percent of the respondents without paid sick leave.
The most significant control variables indicated an increase in the expected psychological distress score among those who were younger, female, in fair or poor personal health, had at least one chronic health condition, were current smokers or did not average the recommended range of seven to nine hours of sleep per day.
Approximately 40 percent of respondents in the NHIS sample did not have paid sick leave; approximately half of the respondents were female; more than half were married or cohabitating; three-quarters indicated that their highest level of education included at least some college; and 62 percent were non-Hispanic white. The mean age was 41.2 years. Most of the respondents (79.1 percent) worked full-time and 82.7 percent had health insurance coverage. Respondents were in families with a mean size of 2.6 persons and 39.3 percent reported having children in the family. Approximately 32 percent had an annual family income of $35,000 to $50,000, and more than one quarter were below the poverty threshold.
DeRigne and Stoddard-Dare caution that even though there is concern about the potential burden on employers if paid sick leave laws are passed, it is important to be mindful of the overall situation regarding productivity loss and workplace costs associated with mental health symptoms and psychological concerns among U.S. workers. Furthermore, the personal health care consequences of delaying or forgoing needed medical care can lead to more complicated and expensive health conditions. U.S. workers with paid sick leave are more likely to take time off work and self-quarantine when necessary, without the worries of losing their job or income while also not spreading illness to others.
“Results from our research will help employers as they think about strategies to reduce psychological stress in their employees such as implementing or expanding access to paid sick days,” said Stoddard-Dare. “Clinicians also can use these findings to help their patients and clients as can legislators who are actively evaluating the value of mandating paid sick leave.”
Increasing Workplace Diversity: The Glass Escalator Phenomenon in Female Dominated Professions
Many assume that most workplaces are meritocracies where effort is rewarded by advancement and success. But as companies in the United States strive to accommodate greater racial and ethnic diversity, this premise has proved questionable for women and non-white men.
Broadly-designed efforts to incorporate black workers into positions where they are underrepresented, particularly in professional or managerial jobs, have been largely unsuccessful. Relatively few black people have attained high-status positions in the medical, legal, and scientific and engineering fields; and racial gaps persist for highly-educated blacks in white collar and professional positions.
To support the advancement of black workers in white-collar occupations, researchers and managers need to understand how implicit behavioral biases can sideline black careers. My research deals with these issues in various kinds of job settings.
Various jobs come with unspoken emotional requirements, rarely codified, that hold workers accountable for creating feelings in themselves or others. For instance, customer service workers are expected to make clients feel respected and valued. Flight attendants must remain calm even when interacting with unruly passengers. Such emotional requirements mean additional labor for workers of all races, yet black professionals in predominantly white environments must also deal with racial dynamics that further complicate this work.
Both inside and outside of the workplace, the implicit emotional rules that black professionals must meet – often, they say, at great cost – are quite different from those applied to their white colleagues. Black professionals are expected to express emotions of pleasantness and kindness constantly, even in the face of racial hostility.
Diversity trainings require them to conceal feelings of frustration even when colleagues express racial biases. Black men in particular report a prohibition on any expression of anger, even in jobs where anger is accepted or encouraged from others. Black women, in contrast, deploy anger strategically as a means to be taken more seriously at work.
Black Men in Female-Dominated Fields
Such gender differences are not limited to emotional performance and even prevail in occupations where men are in the minority. Research shows that white men working in culturally feminized fields – nursing, social work, and teaching – are privileged by the “glass escalator” phenomenon, in which they are afforded advantages and advancement unavailable to colleagues who are women or non-white males.
For example, white men are generally supported by male authority figures, encouraged to pursue administrative or supervisory positions, and enjoy a positive reception from female colleagues who welcome men into “their” professions. But the same advantages do not extend to black men in traditionally female jobs. Black men in these fields experience social isolation from those who might support their climb up the career ladder. Any “glass escalator” that may exist for white men in female-dominated jobs is largely out of service for black men.
Black Men in Male-Dominated Fields
Black men in culturally-masculinized occupations — lawyers, doctors, financial analysts, engineers – are uniquely positioned. In workplaces like this, majority and minority racial and gender statuses inform how black men are expected to present themselves and interact with colleagues. Specifically, black men’s minority status keeps them from fully integrating into their jobs, even as their gender status gives them advantages over their women counterparts.
As the racial minority, black men often empathize with the ways women are treated and use their gendered privileges to advocate for gender-equitable workplace policies. At the same time, black men report wanting closer relationships with other black professional men, but are uncomfortable engaging in the socially stereotyped feminine behaviors that are necessary to achieve this– such as initiating contact, staying in communication, checking up on one another.
Similarly, the black men are reluctant to express or reveal a need for social support, because men are culturally expected to “go it alone.” As a result, black men in white-collar occupations often remain quite isolated at work.
Although black men may be able to bond with white men over “guy things,” they lack access to critical social networks (to elite white friends, neighbors, and acquaintances) that can provide boosts up the corporate ladder. Racial and gendered stereotypes often also force black professionals to develop and maintain alternative types of black masculinity.
Bottom Lines for Employers, Organizations, and Policymakers
Workers of color face numerous challenges in the workplace that differ greatly depending on the field, profession, and specific office setting. The challenges faced by black men and black women are not identical, even in the same work environments. And specific work settings matter, too, because black men in the medical field, for instance, face distinct challenges from those practicing law.
Because one-size-fits-all approaches and generalized diversity policies will not effectively address the specific challenges facing workers of color, organizations, and offices must try to understand how racial and gender dynamics play out in their specific fields and workplaces. Only with such understanding can a workplace succeed at becoming more attractive, accepting, and comfortable for diverse employees.
How to begin? A workplace could start by soliciting buy-in from professional black men, who may have been overlooked in previous efforts to foster equal acceptance. Employers can tie diversity outcomes to concrete rewards for managers and workers. And because black professionals are often required to leave their racial identity at the door – under the dubious rationale that it will reduce race-related stress – perhaps the most important step is to openly acknowledge that racial issues impact workers’ lives.
Find out what the issues are for each workplace and its employees – and then tailor solutions to real-life experiences. Overall, this is important work for employers. As the U.S. workforce continues to diversify, workplaces must be creating acceptance and support from the ground up in order to remain competitive.
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