When Jessica Jensen began her career in corporate America in the 1990s, there was a rigid but unwritten rule book about how women should look and act. The uniform consisted of stockings (tights), she recalls.
I remember a woman counseling when I started, she said, ‘Now, you need to sit at the table, put your arms on the table and have your say’, demonstrating a stern posture Said that he was advised to take.
Work has changed in the intervening years, with the pandemic changing even more.
For Jensen, chief marketing officer of the leading recruitment website Indeed, which employs 1,200 people in Ireland and 12,000 people worldwide, these changes are positive on many levels.
“I can be my funny funny self. We can wear whatever we want to — there’s a lot of freedom,” says Jensen, whose CV includes studying improv comedy in L.A. with teachers like actress Melissa McCarthy. “When I started working, gay people were not out there. You would actually whisper in your breath about someone being gay. And, thank goodness, that’s changed a lot.”
As a large employer and important player in the jobs market, Indeed is at the forefront of a rapidly changing world of recruitment, with many employers grappling with post-pandemic restrictions.
“I like to say that the only two good things to come out of COVID are kids learning to wash their hands, and people re-evaluating their relationship with work.
“I think there has been a fundamental shift in terms of the need for flexibility, the desire to minimize business travel, and the desire to fit work into life – and not the other way around. It all makes workers think about it differently. Having reason to think about what they want from their companies and organizations.
“It’s forcing employers to be more flexible, more open-minded, and to meet employees in a way that sustains their lives and their jobs.”
Jensen, who has held senior roles at Facebook and Apple, says the new ways of doing things aren’t just a fad.
“I don’t think it’s a youth movement. I think people up and down the age chain are seeing value in it.”
Some owners are being brought back to offices, however, especially in areas such as financial services.
“I don’t know if it’s going to work,” Jensen says. “I think workers have more power now, and there are more jobs than labor supply. People are voting by foot.
“I think companies that draw a hard line around ‘back-in-the-office’
Policies are going to struggle to retain and attract the best people. ,
Jensen took a winding path in the boardroom of a multinational company. Originally from the state of Kansas, USA, at the age of 14, his family moved to San Diego, California. Then, after attending college in Massachusetts, she lived and worked in Japan.
“My dad is a painter and I was really obsessed with Japanese art,” she says.
Before returning to the US to join the Boston Consulting Group, Jensen worked for California business representatives in Tokyo. Later he joined several Yahoo! Became General Manager. consumer business.
“I realized that, at my heart, I was an artist – so I started to migrate to marketing. But really I am first and foremost a business strategist who has become a marketer over time.”
It was during his time in management consulting that he worked with improv comedy, taking classes with the Los Angeles improv troupe called The Groundlings.
“I had no illusions that I would be a professional comedian,” she says with a smile. “I did it as a release. I loved the silliness — and, you know, I wouldn’t say that management consulting was resting.”
Throughout his career, Jensen found himself working for some of the leading technical players. So how did he find the attitude toward women in Silicon Valley?
“I never feel comfortable saying that it’s hard for women to be successful in technology, because it’s entirely up to the company,” she says.
“But to be clear, there is A ‘tech bro’ culture in Silicon Valley. I think both the startup world and the VC world have historically seen a lot of male cronyism. But I think it is improving.”
Jensen sits on the board of a female VC council called F7.
“We are making progress,” she says.
Given that company culture varies from firm to firm, how can potential employees decide how it is on the ground before joining?
“I think it’s incredibly important to kick the tires,” she says, adding that online employer reviews — like those you’ll actually find on sister site Glassdoor — are useful.
“I always tell women who ask about their career journeys, ‘Use your network, find three women at that company in different departments – and ask them to give you the straight story.’ This can be quite revealing.
“I think a lot of companies wear a beautiful ‘diversity face,’ but it’s not a real day to day experience of people in the company.”
Jensen spent five years at Facebook (now Meta), where she was Head of Platform, Products and Insights, and Business Marketing, during an incredibly frightening time at the social media giant. She says the experience was “fascinating.”
“When I joined, we were 4,000 people – and when I left, we were about 30,000 people. I was there when we acquired Instagram, when we acquired WhatsApp, when we launched Messenger…
“I got to see an incredible portfolio of companies around the world that not only grow but actually deal with social, political issues. And I went through Cambridge Analytica, overseeing internal comms. I would recommend that job to anyone. I won’t.”
She also saw for the first time an increasingly skeptical view of the world about Facebook.
“We went from being exciting tech-industry darlings to the media bane – some of which deserved, some of which weren’t. It was personally very sad to see this thing I worked so hard on, that I was really stoked believed in being.”
But Jensen believes in regulation of technology.
“I think technology is good for society in general, because it makes us more connected, more efficient – and frankly, it frees us from fatigue in many respects.
“However, I definitely accept the evils of social media. I’m raising an 11-year-old daughter, so I face the challenges of navigating and trying to control it.
“I support governments and policymakers dealing with business to try to find the right balance, because these things can be downright toxic.”
Jensen, who actually joined as chief marketing officer during the pandemic, is a strong supporter of equality and diversity – an ethos that undoubtedly helped it reach the top 10. sunday free/Statista Ireland’s 150 Best Employers in 2022, published today.
Indeed gender balance is a major priority – and the company is actively working to achieve it.
“I would say, as a company, we are very committed to pay transparency – in the workplace as a whole and for ourselves.
“Let’s get this out in the open, let’s shed light on this. Actually, we have pay transparency and we’ve had a really strong conversation in our Slack channels about pay. We believe that everyone They have to know what they are supposed to make for a certain level, for a particular type of role.”
The company also has a very active women’s group, covering learning and growth opportunities.
She believes that resilience has been very beneficial to caregivers, who are often women. But she also admits that working from home has its challenges.
“We are all struggling to find ways to have a clear demarcation between work and home life.
“Laptops and computers give us the freedom to have a meeting while we’re waiting for our kids at the dentist, or something like that — but there’s the burden of constantly feeling accessible. And mobile phones don’t help with that.”
He believes that leaders and managers should draw the lines around personal time.
“We have to be proactive and proactive to draw these lines on and off, or digital work can invade you all the time. It’s a real concern.”
The latest initiative to really support its workers is called Family Farming Benefit. Apart from digital assistance services, the package includes financial reimbursement for expenses related to IVF, egg and sperm freezing and surrogacy.
There was a time when employees did not need such benefits, they could be resentful of the financial benefits being applicable only to a certain group of employees. However, he feels that a truly holistic approach towards workers avoids this.
“We are equally accepting those who need to take time. We offer mental health leave or personal leave. There are people on my team – men and women – who have certain sporting things they want to do at certain times, and we work around their schedules. ,
Although this was Jensen’s actually first visit to Dublin, she often stayed in the city when she was with Facebook and faded into the country’s admiration, suggesting that Ireland should find itself excessive with corporate tax changes. Shouldn’t worry.
“The quality of the talent here is excellent. We are here for the people. It is a wonderful center for doing business across Europe. We have good relations with the Irish government and with companies and partnerships here. This is our European home. And this is very important for us.
“Does taxes play a role? Sure. But it’s much bigger than that.
“We consider it the Silicon Valley of Europe. We see it as a talent hub, an innovation hub. It is a pleasure to work with people with such a broad perspective.”
While the jobs market is booming at the moment, the world is witnessing enormous economic uncertainty. However, Jensen is optimistic.
“I thought the last two and a half years were pretty wild, and nothing calms me down – which is really, really amazing.
“We are actually very fortunate that the demand for labor is very high, and we are growing very well.
“Obviously the world has shown this can be reversed in an instant – but we are hiring a lot in Ireland and many other markets, so we will continue to grow here for as long as humanly possible. “