Ángel Sáenz de Cenzano, LinkedIn country manager for Spain and Portugal, receives The Information in the platform’s colorful offices in Madrid. The manager confirms that flexibility has become a core element of labor relations and addresses the upcoming market challenges, among which AI stands out. Far from being pessimistic, he expects its emergence as a multiplier of job opportunities and the element that will boost the country’s productivity.
Question: You came to LinkedIn in 2019, since then the labor market has undergone many changes, from the teleworking boom to talking about new rights such as digital disconnection, while mobility between companies has increased. Do you think this has marked a before and after in the way of understanding the relationship between the employer and the workers?
Answer: I think it has been an accelerated transformation, not so much an inflection point. In autumn 2019 we published a global report on labor trends and there was already talk about this empathetic element of the relationships between the company and the worker. It was not something new, what happened is that everything that happened and what has come after has accelerated many changes, some of them have stabilized, but in others, we have returned to what was before…we have seen different situations and There is nothing written in stone: we continue to adapt, learn and attend.
Q: Many companies are deciding to return to in-person, do you think the hybrid format will finally prevail or will it depend on each company?
A: Teleworking is one more tool of a flexible conception in the work environment that, depending on the industry we deal with, takes one form or another. Most companies are finding the balance between the productivity of the employee, the company and team management; ours, too. Flexibility is highly valued by professionals and companies are addressing it with policies and very good ideas, but I think we have not yet seen the end of the road, we continue to learn, we are evolving, introducing different areas, like almost everything in the Life seems like it’s going to be a matter of balance.
“AI is an accelerator and multiplier of opportunities, we do not see it as a limitation of the professional space, quite the opposite.”
Q: 45% of citizens believe that unemployment will increase in the next 10 years due to the emergence of AI and robots in the labor market according to the latest CIS survey. Do you share this pessimism?
A: We are living in a time of great transformation and what artificial intelligence is going to make possible is the multiplication of opportunities, including those of LinkedIn. For workers, in terms of the possibilities of finding suitable content, work, to prepare for interviews, there is a whole world of functionalities that will help the member themselves. Also for companies, which will be able to establish their talent strategies with us with a much faster speed of implementation. For us it is an accelerator and a multiplier of opportunities, we do not see it as a limitation of the professional space, quite the opposite.
Q: In this process, will professions disappear while new ones are generated?
A: I think that as in other important waves of technology, more than a change in professions, the tools that professionals have at their disposal to carry out their work will change. We will adapt, just as we did to the computer, the Internet, the mobile phone or the applications. It is a more important wave that will help us generate greater productivity in our work. That will change our routines a little, our habits and also our functions but not the jobs themselves. We are not seeing much conversation about positions that are destroyed or created, beyond those specifically linked to AI, we see a greater proportion of traditional positions that include its use among the requirements of the job offer.
Q: In this context, is it possible to reduce the working day?
A: It is a debate that probably does not have a single answer because it depends a lot on the context, it depends on the sectors, the companies, the level of productivity. The reduction of the working day does not seem to me to be an end in itself, it may be a consequence of us working more selectively and more productively.
Ángel Sáenz de Cenzano, country manager for Spain and Portugal
Q: In Spain we do not talk about the phenomenon of the Great American Recession but we have seen an increase in the percentage of workers who think about changing companies or even think about doing so. How has this translated into LinkedIn numbers?
A: Probably a little more movement. In the studies we did in 2020 and 2021, it was said that more or less half of the working population valued a job change, which was a bit scary, because it is not something very sustainable, but if you analyzed it in depth it didn’t have anything either. . of bad. It is a time more of reflection than of resignation, at least in Spain, and it is logical that we rethink where we work, why and how. This has led to more activity on the network, on the part of companies to search for possibilities and candidates and on the part of professionals as well, due to a vibrant environment in the labor market.
Q: Has the paradigm changed and is it now the worker who chooses the company?
A: I think there has been one there, in parallel with the fact that we continue to see a tense labor market, an asymmetry between supply and demand. That puts a little more decision in the hands of professionals, but that specific situation refers to very specific positions, not all of them. If we look at other macroeconomic employment figures we see that there are still groups and industries that encounter difficulties, which is why we try to be a place where people can find employment and we can develop and progress as a society, which in Spain makes us false.
“It is a time more of reflection than of resignation and it is logical that we rethink where we work, why and how”
Q: In recent months the CEOE has referred to this problem of vacancies in very diverse sectors, from agriculture to the technological field. Do you think there is a talent problem in Spain or is it not knowing how to channel training well?
A: I would not say categorically either of the two things, it is not a problem of talent or training per se, it is a problem of adequacy between the necessary capabilities and those that can be acquired. But we see it with optimism, we believe that there is a much greater awareness on the part of professionals of the need to acquire skills quickly and of the companies themselves, as a way to develop their talent. I believe that we will tend to close this situation, because we have changed the chip and, above all, companies, and to a lesser extent, public administrations, are taking action on the matter to propose and provide professionals and the unemployed with the necessary skills to eliminate that gap. . Between supply and demand.
Q: Has there been a significant increase in users in Spain?
A: The behavior of the number of members on the platform is growing and accelerating. We just celebrated two weeks ago one billion members worldwide, which is a very iconic and significant number. In Spain we already have over 18 million members and we have been growing practically at a rate of one million a year. We see a lot of movement on the platform of conversations, content, new topics, industries that were not represented before… Everything results in more active members and more job offers.
Q: Would you highlight any specific sector?
A: The health sector greatly accelerated its presence during these years, as is logical, but there are others that are emerging with great force, such as sectors linked to the rural area (agriculture, livestock, viticulture) that a few years ago had a testimonial presence. Also the financial sectors that previously had a little more reservations about participating in a professional social network and are now publishing, including studies, reports. We see that there is this effervescence in some industries and that satisfies us a lot and encourages us to continue down that path.
Ángel Sáenz de Cenzano, LinkedIn country manager for Spain and Portugal.
Q: Is there an intention from the platform to create these specific communities? I think of the figure of the ‘Top voices’.
A: Absolutely, we have an editorial team that we feel very satisfied with that energizes all of this, with the ‘top voices’ or our own content and formats such as news summaries. We do not have a leading role, it is that of the network users, but we do assume that role of promotion and dynamization. The ‘top voices’ are carrying out dissemination, analysis, study, sharing, and adding value to their sectors, even in very specific, very interesting matters.
Q: What objectives do you have in the short term for Spain?
A: Continue to be relevant to our members, we have a lot of users who already generate a high level of responsibility for us and what we have to do is continue to offer them value in the time they spend on our platform. We do not have the ambition that they spend many hours a day on LinkedIn, that is not realistic, but that the time they dedicate to working on our platform is increasingly relevant and represents an increasingly greater return in value.