For the past five years, our Workmates have been giving back through an annual program called Workforce Week™. At its heart, Workforce Week is about coming together to help talented job seekers find meaningful, thriving-wage careers.
Yet for a number of reasons, this year is different.
For the first time, we teamed up with others in the tech sector—Salesforce, LinkedIn, Okta, and DocuSign—to host virtual career workshops across the globe. This is a continuation of the growth of Workforce Week, which first started with one week of career development for job seekers at our California headquarters, but has grown over the years to encompass weeks of activity across our global offices. Since we share with other tech companies a collective objective and vision to create access to opportunity for all, it made perfect sense this year to combine our efforts to support the communities where we all live and work.
This year is also very different because of what’s happened in the world around us. There’s no doubt COVID-19 is not only exposing inequalities, but it’s also having a disproportionate impact on diverse communities. We’ve seen it immediately in the number of workers who’ve lost their jobs in recent months. And while this impact started with a pandemic that continues today, it was followed by a series of acts of racial injustice, including the senseless loss of Black lives, that spurred civil unrest in communities everywhere. While each of these things alone are horrific, they’ve brought even greater awareness to some things that aren’t new: widespread racial and social inequality, and in the working world, an opportunity divide.
It is common knowledge that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. In fact, we know race and zip codes can be predictors of future wealth, yet talented individuals are born and raised in families and communities everywhere. Through our Workforce Week activities, we want to help others secure lasting employment—wherever that may be.
Workforce Week-style events help job seekers build social capital—a network of professional relationships—which is a critically important element to the job search and one many are denied because of life experiences, zip codes, and work experiences. The ability to build social capital in professions in which job seekers have a passion or interest has proven time and time again to be a key to securing long-term, lasting employment. Tech industry employees who volunteer their time at a Workforce Week-style event—whether it’s conducting a mock job interview, reviewing a resume, or having an open and honest chat about careers—can help have a positive impact on others’ lives and careers.
In the time of a global pandemic where millions of jobs are lost, social capital could be the key differentiator for an individual entering or re-entering the workforce.
Partnering With Innovators
If we know anything about the tech sector, it’s that the industry knows how to innovate, solve problems, and adapt quickly. We also know that many companies share our mission to help create economic opportunity for all.
So far in 2020, hundreds of Workday employees across the globe have donated more than 700 volunteer hours to Workforce Week events, dedicating their time, expertise, and resources to help job seekers prepare for a potentially life-changing career. And, together with our tech industry partners this year, we’ve been able to bring Workforce Week events to cities such as Chicago, Dublin, London, New York, Paris, and more, and have partnered with more than 40 workforce development nonprofit partners globally.
We’re proud to see a homegrown Workday program grow to serve as many job seekers as possible. It’s proven to be a scalable, sustainable program with only more growth and collaboration to come.