We all know the job market is crazy at the moment. Some industries are not recruiting at all, others are scrabbling to get the best expertise they need for this new world. The market for learning technologists is hot and I’ve never seen so many job ads out.
Here’s what I am seeing at Edinburgh:
We advertised for student summer interns. We planned to take 20, we got 100+ applications and we are taking 45.
We advertised for Learning Technology Support Officers. Again, over 100 applicants, we’ll aim to appoint five.
We advertised for Senior Content Designers in March and got 12 applicants, for a similar role in June we now have 52.
We advertised for a Learning Technology Team Manager, got 45 applicants, appointed one.
We advertised for Project Managers and got 75+ applicants, including many people who had previously been working only as contractors.
Offering students work experience in our STEM organisation is a no-brainer for me.
We get up to date ideas and creative thinking from them. They get real work experience and digital skills from us. The digital sector in Scotland is booming and students are hungry for work experience which will help them to succeed once they graduate. If you are not studying a STEM discipline the digital sector may be hard to enter, we need a pipeline for students to find their way into well paid jobs and new roles.
This is the fourth year I have hosted interns in LTW and the numbers keep getting bigger. This is credit to all the teams and managers who establish a range of really interesting summer projects and to the reputation we are gaining as a great place to work.
Our interns come to us via a variety of routes. We are happy to host 24 new student interns this summer (11 via Employ.ed, 10 as VLE support, 2 Napier Placements, 1 Equate Careerwise) , plus 2 returners from last year (Anirudh and Samuel ), 2 who have been with us for 3 years ( Dominique and Vicki), 6 student trainers and 10 media subtitling assistants.
While they are with us the interns write blogs and as they leave we ask them to reflect on what they have learned. Each team and project they are involved with benefits from their input. And yes, we pay them.
If you have ever visited our meeting rooms on Floor E you will have been immersed in an installation by Fabienne Hess.
This installation of images on the glass walls of our meeting rooms in Argyle House is a whole work by Hess, she was commissioned as part of the refurbishment the office spaces to create a work featuring images of existing objects of University collections. Her work exploring the University of Edinburgh’s Collections has spanned across several years and she features in current displays at The Talbot Rice. The process of digitizing, which started in the summer of 2012, has involved photographing almost 25,000 diverse items, from ancient manuscripts to musical instruments, anatomical drawings to historic maps. Throughout the process Fabienne has also created a series of ‘sub-collections’- these groupings, put together in arbitrary themes such as those images containing a red dot, those featuring a person raising an arm, a triangular shape, a certain shade of blue, create a fascinating set of ‘new’ collections. One of these new collections is the installation you are in. Did you notice?
In addition to more editing and inspired by Kirsty, I am also looking forward to hosting an intern, in conjunction with colleagues in Centre for Research Collections to look at the metadata which describes our images so that the women ( and others) are more easily found!
As part of the PlayFair Steps equality and diversity initiative in ISG we have been looking at our staff demographics and considering our recruitment practices.
There is many a cliche to be heard around how difficult it is to recruit women into tech jobs. Some of it is true, some of it is lack of imagination. As a large tech employer in this city we compete for the best talent against other tech employers in the city. The competition for new graduates, skilled software engineers, designers, excellent IT managers and creative thinkers is hot*.
As an organisation we recognise that we need to improve the diversity in our teams to improve our insights and creativity, to draw upon a diverse set of ideas and experiences and to model for our own students the world in which they might want to work.
One of the things we’ve done is to start employing student interns. Dozens of ’em. It’s been really invigorating. All the teams in LTW have benefitted and I am personally very much enjoying having the most up-to-date thinking and input from the interns in my office. Dominique works with me on my gender equality plans and Polina works with me on digital marketing and recruitment. These two projects are linked. If we want to get more women into our organisation- particularly at senior levels- we need them to apply for our jobs in the first place.
I am not certain that as a tech employer we are very well served by our recruitment strategy currently. We have no specific graduate careers track in ISG, no ‘return to work after a career break’ initiatives and we tend only to advertise in ‘university places’ such as our own HR pages and jobs.ac.uk**. I’ve never seen a twitter feed or anything similar pushing out our jobs (other than mine).
HR sites, and even jobs.ac.uk rely on the premise that a person wants to work in a university first and that they’ll be looking for a job and your ad will happen to be there at that moment. I’m not sure that is the market we most need to be in. I think we need to be digitally transforming our recruitment approach and reaching passive talent*** while they happen to be browsing.
I have asked Polina to investigate LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has company pages, where employers can gather followers and networks and get their news and jobs in front of people who already have jobs and are busy networking in their professional field. Looking at Linkedin I note that as well as the University news pages, our business school is already using linkedin for their recruitment. Polina is a business school student so she knows her stuff. My hope is that we will figure out how best to use Linkedin in ISG to get our adverts to new eyes using linked people, friends, friends of friends, networks, news, alumni, students and interested tech followers to show them what a great place this is to work.
**it turns out that 15% of working professionals are scanning their network at any given time, and 45% are totally open to considering a new opportunity when approached by a recruiter. I know this. It happens to me a lot. In addition to the 25% who say they are actively looking for a new job, 85% of the global workforce are your oyster.
*** I’m also having trouble finding anyone who has any stats about how many views or shares our ads get. What I am finding is some anxiety amongst our HR professionals that I may be about to disrupt the status quo (again).
The work of this internship will be to review research skills frameworks, map digital skills to the research life cycle, identify existing training resources locally and in other universities, identify good practice for researcher training programmes, highlight any differences in digital skills needs in specific discipline areas and make recommendations to Information Services senior management to shape their plans going forward.
Equality, Gender and Change PhD Intern (Employ.ed for PhDs)
Information Services has more than 600 staff. Earlier this year more than 300 of them replied to a gender equality survey. The results of this survey are providing a starting place for the IS senior management to promote equality in the workplace and implement proactive plans for change. This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services as we make plans to move to a new building and find new ways of working.