'Black talent is being left behind': Kanya King on the changes needed in tech recruitment

'Black talent is being left behind': Kanya King on the changes needed in tech recruitment

An all-star panel, featuring MOBOs founder Kanya King, Facebook’s Vanessa Bakewell, Girls I Rate’s Cleo Amedume, Distiller Music’s John Thompson and Women In Ctrl’s Nadia Khan, gathered together at the Music Week Tech Summit 2021 to talk about some of the innovations in networking during the pandemic. 

In a lively panel discussion about how the tech sector has fostered communication, the group covered everything from the MOBO Awards to Girls I Rate’s Mentor Me sessions, Distiller Music’s virtual songwriting camps and more.

Amid much excitement about the future possibilities, however, Kanya King urged the music industry to look at the diversity of its recruitment. The MOBOs recently launched their MOBOlise initiative to connect Black people to mentoring, networking, and career opportunities.

“Pre-covid the creative industry sector was the fastest growing one in the UK economy, but the evidence shows that black talent was being left behind,” said King. “Mobilise is a community [connecting people] with job opportunities. It starts with that, but it will stop when we drive systemic change in terms of inclusion and diversity. It's all about providing opportunities at every stage of your career and whatever sector your career evolves into. Mobilise offers the chance for talents to network with leaders and employees from different industries to gain mentorship, boost confidence and find vacancies for the most aspirational jobs out there. They will get a chance to showcase their skills and gain access to all different types of networks out there. It's about working with forward thinking organisations who will benefit from a wider and more diverse pool of talent."

Another key consensus in the panel is that the Zoom revolution may have forever altered the way things operate going forward.

“We'll go for a hybrid I think,” suggested GIR’s Cleo Amedume of how they will proceed with their celebrated Mentor Me sessions. “A mixture of physical and virtual events.”

“I think the consensus across everything we're doing is we really don't need to go back to old school, five days a week in the office,” agreed Distiller’s John Thompson. “We're going to do a bit of a hybrid of working remotely and maybe one or two days, if necessary, in an office environment.”

“We are actively hiring for a lot of remote roles across the world,” said Facebook’s Vanessa Bakewell. “I think that sees everything about you know how we feel about flexibility and work life balance.”



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