Tina Byles Williams, the founder, CEO and CIO of Xponance Inc., a Philadelphia-based money manager with $11 billion in AUM, said that her firm typically recruits through either candidate searches or internships. She believes recruitment of entry-level talent "will become harder," as a result of the pandemic, but says that "people adapt."
"In a recruitment sense, it is possible that technology will sort people out relative to more objective criteria vs. the subjective criteria that is often infused with conscious or unconscious bias," Ms. Williams said.
"Technology allows for screening based on objective characteristics, such as particular skills or particular types or years of experience from a broader opportunity set, as opposed to solely through a network that is entirely curated through more cultural and social connections; such as country club membership or familial or friendship connections or even graduation from elite schools. It is easy to search more expansively remotely, because it is less taxing on the recruiter's time and travel expenses. Technology also can help prioritize objective factors over subjective factors (race, gender, social background) by simply highlighting those factors first, before the follow-up audio-visual or physical interview," Ms. Williams said.
As it pertains to Xponance's existing workforce, technology has also provided an opportunity for staff who don't work in the Philadelphia headquarters to connect more often with her and other senior leadership, she added.
Xponance has 43 employees across its two offices in Philadelphia and Durham, N.C.
"In some ways, (technology) may democratize access. One thing it has done for us, is staff in Durham have said they feel way more present with me as the head of the firm relative to my colleagues in Philadelphia. They were acutely aware that folks that were in my office could just stop by and have a chat with me," Ms. Williams said.
Since the pandemic started, Xponance has onboarded an intern and hired two additional employees via virtual recruiting, she added.
Another source also noted that virtual recruitment of entry-level talent has actually expanded recruitment opportunities.
"We've had our internship program for years. We think there's such a huge opportunity (to recruit) especially people from more diverse backgrounds," said Carol W. Geremia, president of Boston-based MFS Investment Management and head of global distribution.
MFS has more than 1,900 employees worldwide and managed $535.8 billion as of Oct. 31.
The firm has been able to interview a broader array of candidates due to the process being virtual, Ms. Geremia said.
"Interest in (joining) the industry is growing exponentially for diverse talent. I've spent so much time in the past six months, amid COVID and working from home, talking with interns and talking with students," Ms. Geremia said. "I've personally not spent more time than I have now talking to students," as a result of these engagements becoming virtual, she said.
Since mid-March, MFS has hired approximately 40 entry-level employees and "never hit pause" on hiring during the pandemic with the move to virtual onboarding, a spokesman said. "We continued to onboard on offers we had out prior to the pandemic and continue to look to staff on positions as they come up," the spokesman added.
The firm's hiring of more than 40 full-time, paid undergraduates through its cooperative program, as well as its onboarding of nearly 30 summer interns was also on par with last year despite the pandemic, according to the spokesman.