National / International News

Corporate boards still disproportionately male

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:27

When Google released employees’ demographic data recently, it revealed just how white and male the tech company is. On the other hand, Google has something a lot of companies don’t: three women on its 10-person board.

Research has been mounting for a while that board diversity actually makes a difference to corporations’ bottom lines. Still, most firms aren’t in any rush to change the status quo. One recent study says parity in the boardroom will arrive in 2042.

Malli Gero hopes it will come a lot faster. For the last few years, she’s been keeping tabs on how many female board members companies have. Gero is co-founder of the nonprofit 2020 Women on Boards. She says some top companies have women in 20 percent or more of board seats. But most are far below that number. She says the most successful companies can afford to hire search firms to find good female candidates, but others turn to their existing network.

“Most of the male CEOs know men like themselves, and those are the people they rely on,” Gero says.

And that’s how the cycle of men on boards continues.

It’s a cycle large investment funds like Calpers are trying to break.

Anne Simpson is senior portfolio manager at Calpers, California’s employee pension fund. This spring, it worked with a few other large funds to bring a shareholder resolution against Urban Outfitters. Calpers pressed the fashion retailer to put more women and minorities in its boardroom. Urban Outfitters’ main market? Young women. 

“Until last year this was a company that had an all-male board, mostly over 60 years old,” says Simpson. “And for us, this really isn’t a board which has the range of diverse experience and talent to really secure the company for the long term.”

Last year, after a previous shareholder resolution, Urban Outfitters agreed to put a woman on its board. Simpson says initially fund managers were delighted. Then they discovered Urban Outfitters had chosen the wife of its CEO, herself a fashion executive. The company, she says, made no effort to look further afield.

Technology executive Heidi Roizen is trying to encourage companies to do just that. Whenever she hears a CEO say he can’t find any good women, she whips out her list of qualified candidates. 

“I joke about having binders of women,” says Roizen. “I have more binders of women than Mitt Romney.” 

Roizen is a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm DFJ. She has served on more than 30 boards during the last two decades. And it can be a little lonely. She’s on several boards at the moment, including Tivo’s, and she’s the only woman on most of them.

It’s not surprising she’s in such demand. A recent study found women and minorities are far likelier than white men to be on lots of boards at once. 

Anne Simpson of Calpers says that’s because companies are still nervous about working with lesser-known candidates. They stick with women they know are good. Calpers wants companies to limit the time board members can spend on the job so new people have a chance to step in. Otherwise, Simpson says, “We won’t achieve diversity in my lifetime.”

As for Calpers’ effort to get Urban Outfitters to put more women and minorities on the board -- it failed. Most shareholders voted no. Malli Gero says shareholders worry about rocking the boat. But she says there’s another reason things don’t change: apathy.

“Most stockholders don’t even vote their proxies,” she says. “In fact they don’t even open those envelopes to look at the board compositions or to see what resolutions are up and need voting on.”

Gero says if you care about who is making the decisions at companies you have a stake in – the first step is to open that envelope. Then vote.

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast on women and the workplace called The Broad Experience.

How to get a job on LinkedIn

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:23

Here's how LinkedIn says to use its site to get a job - tips straight from the source:

  1. Profile picture: A profile photo is key. In fact, adding a profile picture makes your profile 11 times more likely to be viewed.
  2. Endorsements: Add skills that your connections can endorse you for and recognize those you’ve worked with on their professional skills. There are over 3 billion endorsements given to date.
  3. Summary: Adding a summary of 40 words or more makes your profile more likely to turn up in a future employer’s search. A good tip is to ensure your summary includes keywords featured in desirable job descriptions for your field.
  4. Experience: It’s essential to list all past experience that may reflect your ability to execute and problem solve. In fact, your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you have more than 1 position listed. Illustrate your unique professional story and achievements by adding visuals like pictures, compelling videos and innovative presentations to your experience section. Other members can even like or comment on what you’ve posted.
  5. Volunteer Experience & Causes: Adding causes and volunteer experience is a great way to round out your professional identity. Almost half (42%) of all hiring managers say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience.


Two more arrests over patient death

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:18
Two more people are arrested after the death of an 88-year-old patient who was found with "serious and unexplained" injuries at a south Wales hospital.

Cameron apologises over Coulson

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:16
Prime Minister David Cameron apologises for employing Andy Coulson as his director of communications.

Stimulant khat in illegal drug ban

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:12
Possessing, selling and importing khat, a plant used as a stimulant by Somali communities like those in Cardiff, is made illegal in the UK.

New Approaches To Discipline Strive To Keep Kids Out Of Jail

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:04

Teen courts and restorative justice are focused on cutting off the "school-to-prison pipeline."

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Iraqis use 'off grid' messaging app

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 08:02
Iraqis are using an app which allows messages to be sent between phones, without the need for an internet connection, to get round an internet ban.

Money affecting England - Gerrard

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:58
Captain Steven Gerrard believes the money in the game is affecting young players' hunger and desire to play for England.

What is an unfair mark-up on a bottle of wine?

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:39
How much of a margin is it reasonable for restaurateurs to have on wine?

New US homes sales hit six-year high

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:35
Sales of new US homes surged to a six-year high in May suggesting the housing market is recovering from its recent slowdown.

World Cup Ratings Spike: How Popular Is Soccer In The U.S.?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:30

Sunday's U.S.-Portugal match drew an average of 24.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen, ratings that put the game above the decisive Game 5 of the recent NBA finals.

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Student visa fraud 'truly shocking'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:27
An estimated 48,000 immigrants may have fraudulently obtained English language certificates despite being unable to speak English, the government says.

Does LinkedIn work for job seekers?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:13

Looking for a job hunting can feel like dropping resumes into a black hole.  And what about your LinkedIn profile? Is anyone actually reading it? Or your updates? Turns out – yes. Someone, many someones, like Dwight Scott,  a recruiter with ExecuSearch in New York, are searching LinkedIn, potentially for you.

Scott says he doesn't spend a lot of time reviewing resumes of applicants. Instead he’s searching LinkedIn for potential hires. He says 65 percent of his placements this year are a direct result of reaching out to prospects on LinkedIn.

A version of LinkedIn just for recruiters offers powerful search options, Scott says. "Degrees, field of study, industry -- you can add custom filters if you like: status, what industry are they in, what groups have they joined? Are you interested in interviewing people that have joined Deadheads with Ties? Well, it’s right there -- that's a group."

"Everybody" Scott says, "uses LinkedIn."

 So what does this mean for people who belong to LinkedIn because they’re looking for a job? Or because they have a vague understanding that belonging to the site might somehow help them? I heard from a lot of workers who said they found jobs through the site – both by making new contacts and being contacted by recruiters. Claudine Halpern, who worked in management consulting for 35 years, says she’s used LinkedIn to get a lot of projects but is still reserved about the site.

“It’s a tool," she says. "It’s not A+. Nothing is A+ without the work you do around it.”

Halpern says anyone looking for a job needs to have a strategy, like updating their LinkedIn profile on a regular basis so it gets in front of lots of eyes – like Dwight Scott’s.

“You can’t put out a profile out and ignore it," she says. "You've got to keep it rolling. It’s like a snowball. You've got to keep it rolling and rolling and rolling and you've got to keep it growing, otherwise it doesn’t work for you."

LinkedIn says it’s used for a lot more than jobs – like marketing and education. And it says it’s impossible to track how many jobs are filled through its site. But Halpern says you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed if you’re a joiner, and an updater. Providing ever more information. Which is what LinkedIn promises its paying customers – recruiters.

Peter Cappelli, a professor of human resources at Wharton, says that employers and recruiters have to be careful to see through all that white noise on the site. They have a tendency to look at workers' current titles to see if they match jobs that need to be filled, which Cappelli says can mean ignoring creative hires and potential. At the same time, he says, LinkedIn makes it easy to game the system. And no one is going to post a bad recommendation on the site.

“Everybody gets good references," Cappelli says,  "and everything is glowing, so at some point it’s kind of useless.”

Like this reporter's mother, who endorsed her skills on LinkedIn

“I hope," said Cappelli, "she gave you a good reference.” 

Bank like 'unreliable boyfriend'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:02
The Bank of England has acted like an 'unreliable boyfriend' over its hints about interest rate rises, according to a member of the Treasury select committee.

'National scandal' of working poor

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:59
The chairman of the Living Wage Commission says it is a 'national scandal' that people in work are living in poverty.

In Mafia Arrests, Clues To Slaying Of An NYPD Officer A Century Ago

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:58

The murder of Lt. Giuseppe Petrosino, the only New York police officer to be killed in the line of duty outside the U.S., is unsolved. But Italian recordings unearthed a claim of responsibility.

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VIDEO: Celebrations as Mexico reach last 16

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:50
Street parties as Mexico book a last-16 tie against the Netherlands after knocking Croatia out of the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

River rescue boy dies in hospital

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:49
A teenager who got into difficulty while out swimming in the River Nith near Dumfries dies in hospital.

Kidnapped US baby found by jogger

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:38
A baby caught up in a car-jacking has been reunited with its mother after being found by the side of road by a woman out jogging.

VIDEO: PM's 'very rare apology' over Coulson

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-24 06:31
The BBC's Norman Smith said David Cameron's apology for employing Andy Coulson as his director of communications was "very rare".

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