Mark Hurrell.


Imagine a world pt3

27 August 2018

Looks like all the chat about tech ethics is making some sort of difference. Some of the worst offending tech companies are starting to struggle with recruitment because, turns out lots of people who program internet things don’t like the idea of being evil.

Companies should worry about retaining the employees they already have. 'If [employees] believe that the company… is doing things that are an antithesis to what they decided that they wanted to pursue as a professional career… they're the ones who are going to answer a call from a recruiter that says, "This company is doing cool stuff, and they're not working with ICE."'

But John Sullivan, the SFSU professor, said in the last two years, he's increasingly hearing from students who say they'd flat-out refuse to work for tech companies, especially Amazon. ('You get the warehouse stories number one… and facial recognition for some reason is huge,' he said.)

'If you talk to college students and say, "Do you want to work for this company?" they say, "No way, not ever, it's a deal breaker." But then you talk to recruiters, and I don't hear them say, "We have to change our way of managing because it’s affecting our ability to recruit,"' Sullivan said.

Sullivan estimates that Uber's public meltdown over sexual harassment and discrimination cost the company around $100 million in recruiting because of talent that went elsewhere. While in the short term companies might choose lucrative government contracts despite losing a few new recruits, in the long term, the real cost will become apparent, he said.

'At some point six months or a year from now, [HR is] going to get a yell from executives saying, "There's a connection, we need to stop doing business this way or sell it better, because people have too many choices,"' he said. 'Executives think business is business. That's certainly Google’s response — "We make a lot of money out of this!" Facial recognition at Amazon, they're like, "This could be the future!" Executives don’t want to stop it, and they don’t know how to handle the fact that employees say, "No, I won't stand it."'

Caroline O’Donovan, Clashes Over Ethics At Major Tech Companies Are Causing Problems For Recruiters

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