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The Latest from the Talent Tech Industry

December 7-12, 2020: Career Karma raises $10M Series A for its solution to aid workers in the trades, Shelly Palmer opines on the question: should Facebook be broken up, Equifax launches new solution for hiring managers assessing candidate background data, Hibob grabs $70M Series B to expand tool for managing dispersed workforces, AI has a development problem: much of the work is done by underpaid contractors, Fountain introduces mobile app to help recruiters and hiring managers source, screen, and hire on the go, Google worker quits in dispute over publication controversy regarding AI and discrimination. And the beat goes on!

Career Karma Raises $10 Million Series A To Help Workers Acquire In-Demand Trades

This year has produced unemployment rates comparable to those during The Great Depression. With people out of work and close to 100,000 small businesses permanently closed, the idea of switching gears to a whole new career field is difficult to navigate without guidance. What if you could gain a skill that placed you in a job you never thought attainable? Ruben Harris, CEO of Career Karma, is helping people obtain higher-paying jobs through his platform by connecting people with a job training program online that meets the specific needs of each individual considering earning the skills needed for technology-related careers. In an initiative to hire a world-class team that is committed to creating the best career navigation software of all time, Career Karma has raised $10 million in their Series A efforts. They have gained support from investment firms like Softbank’s Opportunity Fund, Emerson Collective, Imaginable Futures, Kapor Capital, 4S Bay Capital, and Unshackled Ventures, who all agree that rapid reskilling combined with the diverse talents that each new technology professionals bring with them, is needed to address one of the most critical issues facing the world right now.

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Should Facebook be broken up?

Should Facebook be broken up? The FTC and the Attorneys General from 46 states say yes. The director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Ian Conner, said in a statement, “Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans.” He continued: “Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition. Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.” That may be their aim, but it’s a big swing and a miss. First, the antitrust police looked at Facebook’s Whatsapp and Instagram deals as they were done, so that ship has sailed. But much more importantly, if the FTC wins, nothing will change for consumers or advertisers. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram will still be the most popular social networks, they will charge for advertising the same way and use data the same way. The big winners today are the lawyers for both sides. Oh, and relax, these lawsuits are going to take years.

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Equifax Offers Hiring Managers Better Insights with “Talent Report Select All”

With the Talent Report(tm) Select All solution, Equifax (NYSE: EFX) continues to facilitate faster, more-informed hiring decisions for talent acquisition professionals with reliable verifications of employment via The Work Number(R) database. Talent Report Select All delivers contextual data in support of a more holistic view of the candidate in a single report, helping hiring managers make critical decisions with greater confidence. Today’s employers continue to refine their processes for making educated hiring decisions, and are constantly looking to improve efficiency and the quality of hires. As a result, background screening and employment verifications are on the rise. In fact, a 2020 survey released by HR research Institute and the Professional Background Screening Association found that 94 percent of employers are conducting at least one type of employment background screening. The same survey showed employment verifications are up 17 percent from 2019 to 2020.

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Hibob Closes $70M Series B Funding Round to Significantly Expand Market Footprint in HR Technology

Hibob, the HR technology innovator behind the people management platform bob, announced $70 million in Series B funding led by investors SEEK and Israel Growth Partners (IGP). Promoting the progress of Hibob’s mission to simplify people management, culture building, and employee engagement for remote and dispersed workforces, the investment will allow Hibob to drive wider global expansion while contributing to further Hibob product development. With triple-digit year-over-year growth in 2020, Hibob is quickly becoming a market leader, gaining strong traction with modern, mid-sized, multinational businesses. Since the company launched, Hibob has signed more than a thousand clients across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, including fast-growing companies such as Monzo, Revolut, Cazoo, Happy Socks, Ironsource, Receipt Bank, Fiverr, Gong, and VaynerMedia. bob also closely integrates with third parties such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Mercer.

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AI needs to face up to its invisible-worker problem

Many of the most successful and widely used machine-learning models are trained with the help of thousands of low-paid gig workers. Millions of people around the world earn money on platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk, which allow companies and researchers to outsource small tasks to online crowdworkers. According to one estimate, more than a million people in the US alone earn money each month by doing work on these platforms. Around 250,000 of them earn at least three-quarters of their income this way. But even though many work for some of the richest AI labs in the world, they are paid below minimum wage and given no opportunities to develop their skills.

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High-Volume ATS, Fountain, Launches New Mobile App

Fountain, the enterprise high-volume recruiting platform, today announced the initial release of its mobile app, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to source, screen, and hire on the go. Available on both iOS and Android platforms, the app provides secure, flexible handling of applicants and job openings – making sure employers don’t miss a beat when it comes to hiring the best talent. The new mobile app puts all of an employer’s locations, applicants and interviews in one place. It helps employers move talent through the pipeline quickly, by keeping them engaged through in-app text or email, thus reducing time to fill. Running late for an interview? No problem, now easily communicating that is just a text away. Need to move an applicant to the next stage or boost your funnels? Easy peasy. The app puts basic hiring needs such as these, including posting to 80+ job boards in less than two minutes, at the fingertips of the recruiter or hiring manager.

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What a termination at Google means for HR tech

When Google fired one of its leading artificial-intelligence computer scientists recently, the media blowback was sharp and extensive—and raised several complex questions for HR leaders. Timnit Gebru, an expert researcher in how facial recognition applications can be biased against people of color, was recently terminated after collaborating with Google colleagues on an academic paper exploring the potential for bias in AI systems, according to the New York Times. Prior to her termination, Google had asked that Gebru withdraw her authorship (and that of three other Google researchers) from an academic paper on the issue of AI and discrimination. In the same Times article, she said she told leadership she “would resign after an appropriate amount of time if the company could not explain why it wanted her to retract the paper and answer other concerns.” Google then told her it accepted her resignation immediately, according to the article.

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