Students, startupper and professionals: that’s who they are the people joining the first Italian Talent Hackathon
The vicinity to the Milanese home of the Buzzati family (in Maino avenue) seems rather evocative. In this area used to live the author of “The Desert of the Tartars”, a novel about waiting. Indeed, the long, frustrating waiting times in the job market are the focus of attention of the participants – or at least some of them – of the first Italian Talent Hackathon promoted by Manpower and the Human Age Foundation, as highlighted in the introductory speech by Stefano Scabbia, president and ad for the Mediterranean Area of the ManpowerGroup.
The Hackathon is a marathon run by hackers, a competition focussed on a technological project. Is it possible, thanks to technology, to think about an interaction between job seekers and organizations that can get rid of the long frustrating waiting times and the old stiff procedures? This is one of the challenges faced by the. – divided up in ten groups. About one participant out of three is a woman (making a total of 32), and one is of foreign origins (a Filipino student from the Cattolica University).
Winning at a talent show is not the whole thing. «The most prominent feature that can determine a success among talented equals» explains manager Sandro Catani, the inspiring figure of the Hackathon, «is determination, the will to not let go even when going through failure.
Learn from the failures
If you cut yourself and blame the professors for having a dislike of you, you will never be able to achieve something great».
But, who are the marathon runners who have competed in the Talent Hackathon? What do they do and what do they think? Let’s find out hearing the stories of three of them.
«The methods of job searching and job offering are still traditional: you send your cv and then you wait – I have done that with a hundred of companies and I received just one replay. A friend of mine received a replay letter after one year. A one-year wait is too long for someone who is looking for a stage» says Gianluca Gambu, a young and stylish student specializing in fashion management at the Iulm, originally from Cagliari. Son of an anatomo-pathologist, he hasn’t followed his father’s career even if he would have probably enjoyed cosmetic surgery. «At the Medicine faculty, you generally make an internship in a hospice and, as a test, a student has to communicate a bad diagnosis to a patient».
Moving to more cheerful subjects, Ambu suggests a “Tinder of the job market”, making a reference to the social network which allows you to search for your soul mate or an adventure partner. «A fast system that allows a wider participation. For a young person accustomed to the immediacy of internet, the replay time generally taken by organizations are of biblical proportions». The single job offer that Ambu has received so far is about a position more suitable to a woman, because the candidate is meant to deal with Muslim female buyers.
Gender discrimination is the main concern of Elide Vincenti, newly graduated at the Cattolica after a 3-years degree in modern literature at the Sapienza, of Sicilian origins, daughter of two teachers with a passion for poetry as revealed by the tattoo on her left wrist: “Black is my soul as a starry night…”. She proposes a platform aimed at defeating gender discrimination.
«As clearly shown in my thesis, women are still widely discriminated in Italy. Getting pregnant often means an abrupt termination of the contract. Even a male manager hardly makes a career if he decides to have a family» points out Vincenti. «We should follow the examples provided by the Scandinavian countries and conceive a professional path in which maternity is regarded as a routine event and not as a penalizing factor. It doesn’t surprise that in Italy the vast majority of top positions are held by men. This is a vertical discrimination».
«Furthermore, there is also a horizontal discrimination» she adds «especially in the south. In northern Italy the numbers of women and men at work are almost equal, while in southern Italy the percentage of female workers is 24%, less than a half. We need to think about a way to overcome this hurdle and change the cultural approach inside companies».
Jacopo “Guedado” Mele
Seated near Antonio, a 16-year-old high school student, stands Jacopo “Guedado” Mele, 23-year-old. Forbes has included him among the 2016 under 30 most influential people in Europe. He hasn’t sent a single cv in his life, but he bustled about since he was very young and developed an interest for video music. He recorded about 50 of them, obtaining 15 millions views. At 16, he moved from Salerno to Rome, leaving the Istituto Nautico to study movie making. He chases me up the stairs holding his inseparable McBook Air to tell me his story: «Today I am a digital life coach, a profession that I invented when I was 18. Organizations don’t need people who give them the work done but rather people who can accompany them through the digitization process. My clients have a turnover than ranges from 10 to 500 million euros. I have a frequent rotation of clients, so I always work on fresh things. I travel about 200.000 kilometres a year, and I am constantly moving around. The hardest question is “where I live” and “what I do”. I find challenges stimulating, especially if I do something new and learn».
What do you think about the projects under discussions in the ten panels, aimed at making the job searching tools closer to social networks or games? «The human capital is the most important issue to me. I am the president of a foundation called “Homo ex Machina”, which aims at promoting human well-being in relation to new technology. I personally think that there are many talents around. Indeed, everyone has a talent». Really everyone? «Everyone has a talent for someone. The most important thing is to make them meet, like two soul mates».
Which is the greatest hurdle? «The most difficult thing is to give trust to those people who have non track-record. Organizations should always bear in mind that each individual has a potential, and that they deal with human beings. A curriculum vitae doesn’t tell you much about this; it describes people as cannon fodder». Can gaming and job Tinder really work for companies? «Tools can help a great deal, but at the base of all stand the managers and their cultural approach».
(translation by Cecilia Braghin)