When LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner recently announced that he would be stepping down from the role, he also provided some details on his next step, which will be working towards "creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce".
A key element of this, it turns out, relates to who you're connected with, an area where LinkedIn can provide significant benefit - in fact, according to Weiner, the right connections can provide you with 12x greater opportunity when seeking your ideal career.
But not everyone is able to access the right networks, which is where Weiner will be focused - and where this latest report from LinkedIn comes in.
In order the better underline the benefits of connectivity, LinkedIn has this week published the second edition of its 'Opportunity Index' report, which incorporates responses from over 30,000 people in 22 markets, in order to provide an overview of what people are looking for in their careers, their key life goals overall, and what they feel are the key impediments to accessing such in their region.
As explained by LinkedIn:
"All of us aspire to get access to opportunities to do better in our lives. For some, it may be getting a job or improving their economic circumstances, while for others, work-life balance or health is more important. With the pace of technological change intensifying, there are also many who want to continue to learn new skills to stay relevant, or take on new entrepreneurial ventures. While our definitions of success may be different, there is a good chance that we can help one another to get there."
The report first looks at life goals and aspirations, and how people define “good” quality of life.
These elements are important, as it provides more context as to how respondents then define their related career ambitions - which are often largely separate from our fundamendal life approaches, but essentially relate to what we all aspire to, more broadly.
With that in mind, LinkedIn then moves onto its Opportunity Index scale.
As explained by LinkedIn:
"LinkedIn Opportunity Index is a composite measure that seeks to understand how people perceive opportunity and, more importantly, the gaps or barriers they believe are keeping them from reaching these opportunities. The Index uses 100 as a baseline score for confidence. A higher score represents greater confidence from respondents living in a specific market."
LinkedIn notes that respondents living in developing economies are the most confident about accessing the opportunities they want, while those living in the US and Canada are the most optimistic in their search for opportunities among developed nations.
It's an interesting overview of how people living in each region perceive their potential to reach their ambitions and goals - and while many of those goals would be relative to the economic conditions in which they live, and the education structures in place, the optimism in developing markets is a positive sign, which may point to future opportunities.
The report also highlights the key role that LinkedIn can play in such - according to the data, 76% of respondents believe that "knowing the right people" is key to maximizing opportunities.
That said, relatively few people (22%) are actively seeking to make connections with the right people through networking and/or related opportunities. LinkedIn suggests that this could stem from the fact that "most respondents don't regard the lack of networks as a major obstacle in their pursuit of opportunities" because of other, more pressing gaps:
These issues are what people see as major hurdles - yet LinkedIn's report suggests that greater exposure to professional networks could play a bigger part than people believe, which is no doubt what Jeff Weiner will be looking to address in his new mission.
It's interesting to consider the impacts of your network on your career, and whether improving your professional exposure can overcome limitations like those noted above. Really, when you cross off each one, there are ways that improving your professional connections within the right communities could help. I mean, it won't give you more time, but making the time to focus on building connections could alleviate such as a concern.
There's a heap more data in the full report, which you can access here, and there are some very interesting career considerations and points to note. It's worth checking it out - and considering whether you're making the most of your connections, and linking into opportunities via your own professional networks.