Problem analysis of the talent bottleneck in EAA’s

Introduction

I feel a small in­tro­duc­tion is nec­es­sary but I will share a full post on An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Ca­reers at a later date once we have con­ducted the rest of our re­search and have a clearer idea of our tra­jec­tory for the next year, should any­one be in­ter­ested. An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Ca­reers is a new char­ity started un­der the Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship In­cu­ba­tion Pro­gram.

The ini­ti­a­tive for An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Ca­reers stemmed from ini­tial re­search con­ducted by Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship that sug­gested one of the most promis­ing in­ter­ven­tions that a new or­gani­sa­tion could do would be to ex­per­i­ment with meth­ods to ad­dress the tal­ent gaps in the farmed an­i­mal move­ment. As such we are now re­search­ing into ways to tackle this prob­lem and the ar­eas which most ur­gently need to be ad­dressed. I am also look­ing for a co-founder to help us fulfil this mis­sion and it would be great if they had some EA back­ground, please do get in touch if you are in­ter­ested.

Summary

The first ob­jec­tive of An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Ca­reers (AAC) is to con­duct some deeper re­search into this ini­tial re­search and try to analyse what spe­cific tal­ent bot­tle­necks need to be most ur­gently ad­dressed. In or­der to do this we have been in­ter­view­ing hiring man­agers and CEO’s from An­i­mal Char­ity Eval­u­a­tors’ top-rated char­i­ties with a sur­vey, to seek their recom­men­da­tions and ad­vice on what could be the most effec­tive ways of ad­dress­ing these bot­tle­necks and their learn­ings from try­ing to draw in tal­ented in­di­vi­d­u­als to the move­ment. This sur­vey is go­ing to con­tinue and re­sults and find­ings will be up­dated over the next month, on com­ple­tion, we will be look­ing into key themes in the re­sults and sub­se­quently hope to ex­per­i­ment with in­ter­ven­tions to ad­dress some of the largest and most tractable is­sues.


The fol­low­ing is a sum­mary of the tal­ent gaps most com­monly ob­served by 9 an­i­mal or­gani­sa­tions and their opinions on what skills might most benefit the an­i­mal move­ment more broadly.

1. Lead­er­ship and man­age­ment ex­pe­rience.
When ask­ing all in­ter­vie­wees what they thought were the 6 most needed skills in an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy or­gani­sa­tions in the next 5 years, the ma­jor­ity were in favour of man­age­ment and lead­er­ship ex­pe­rience, fol­lowed by fundrais­ing ex­pe­rience and economists. There was a com­mon theme that there were not many peo­ple who are mis­sion-al­igned, have a good un­der­stand­ing of the or­gani­sa­tion that they are ap­ply­ing to join, and have ex­pe­rience in a man­age­ment role such as ex­pe­rience of man­ag­ing a team or the sys­tem­atic pro­cesses used in the pri­vate sec­tor.

2. Economists and so­cial sci­en­tists
A com­mon mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy space is that you need to be a fundraiser or an ac­tivist to im­pact change and con­tribute to the move­ment. How­ever, when dis­cussing what is most needed as a skill to help the an­i­mal move­ment in the next 5 years, the most refer­enced skill was economist. En­courag­ing dis­ci­plines such as economists or so­cial psy­chol­ogy could help di­ver­sify the range of solu­tions in the move­ment and in­spire new im­pact­ful solu­tions and ideas based on the suc­cess’ of these move­ments. An ex­am­ple of the his­tor­i­cal suc­cess of so­cial the­o­rists/​economist can be seen in other move­ments such as Henry Ge­orge’s in­fluence in the pro­gres­sive move­ment.

3. Fundrais­ing
8 out of 9 or­gani­sa­tions agreed that their biggest bot­tle­neck pre­vent­ing them from scal­ing was a lack of fund­ing. When we asked deeper into this 75% said they would pri­ori­tise hiring pro­fes­sional fundraisers in the fu­ture to help them with a more sus­tain­able cash flow and pipeline.

4. Ex­pe­rience and con­nec­tions in gov­ern­men­t
The biggest in­dus­try tal­ent gap iden­ti­fied by the ma­jor­ity was in gov­ern­ment fol­lowed closely by le­gal ex­per­tise and academia. Through­out the sur­vey, there were also fur­ther in­fer­ences of the need for more ad­vo­cates in gov­ern­ment and these skills in­ter­nally. The sec­ond most needed skills in an­i­mal or­gani­sa­tions for the next 5 years was policy and gov­ern­ment ex­perts. When asked deeper about this the need was for both peo­ple in their or­gani­sa­tions who have this ex­pe­rience to help ad­vise on strat­egy and a greater num­ber of peo­ple in po­si­tions of power in gov­ern­ment driv­ing for­ward an­i­mal rights into gov­ern­ment agen­das. A good metaphor for how you might af­fect change for the an­i­mal move­ment from in­side an es­tab­lished in­dus­try can be found here.

5. Clear writ­ing skills.
When asked what is the most com­mon things can­di­dates are miss­ing, 60% of in­ter­vie­wees men­tioned that can­di­dates of­ten lack the abil­ity to write con­cisely. In­ter­vie­wees sug­gested that these er­rors were cor­re­lated with a lack of at­ten­tion to de­tail from can­di­dates.

6. Ini­ti­a­tive and the abil­ity to take on a range of differ­ent tasks
Over 75% of peo­ple asked, refer­enced ag­ility and the abil­ity to take on a range of tasks, alongside good pri­ori­ti­sa­tion as be­ing ei­ther fun­da­men­tal or a key trait of those who could come into their or­gani­sa­tions and be most im­me­di­ately im­pact­ful.

7. Train­ing.
The most ad­vo­cated solu­tion from or­gani­sa­tions on how to help fill gaps in their or­gani­sa­tions was for ad­di­tional train­ing for ei­ther their staff or young ad­vo­cates such as vol­un­teers and can­di­dates. When ask­ing or­gani­sa­tions how they felt we could help most with their skills gaps over 60% sug­gested train­ing would be the preferred op­tion and more effec­tive than hiring ad­di­tional peo­ple with these skills.

Broader is­sues that may be sys­tem­i­cally af­fect­ing these or­gani­sa­tions from at­tract­ing tal­ent:

8. Most peo­ple are re­cruited through recom­men­da­tions and refer­rals through the move­ment.
In­ter­vie­wees stated that their most suc­cess­ful meth­ods his­tor­i­cally for find­ing great staff have been through recom­men­da­tions or refer­rals, with 6 of 9 in­ter­vie­wees stat­ing this. This makes sense as one of the most im­por­tant qual­ities an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy or­gani­sa­tions look for seems likely to be mis­sion al­ign­ment. How­ever, it may also mean that we may be giv­ing pri­or­ity to those in the com­mu­nity who are more visi­ble, it also means we might strug­gle to at­tract as much di­ver­sity of thought and crit­i­cal de­bate into our com­mu­nity, which could be use­ful to help the move­ment progress.

9. Com­pared to the US and UK, some coun­tries are more ne­glected in terms of re­sources and the num­ber of or­gani­sa­tions work­ing to­wards pro­mot­ing an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy, in­clud­ing Rus­sia.
This makes it difficult for many tal­ented in­di­vi­d­u­als in those re­gions to ac­tu­ally get in­volved in an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy in the first place, or to ac­cess re­sources to make pos­i­tive changes hap­pen for an­i­mals in these coun­tries.

10. Most an­i­mal or­gani­sa­tions hire for their se­nior po­si­tions ex­ter­nally.
Sadly, largely due to the above is­sues, a lot of or­gani­sa­tions are look­ing ex­ter­nally for peo­ple with spe­cific ex­pe­rience in re­la­tion to these above skills. Whilst it is im­por­tant that these or­gani­sa­tions re­main as im­pact­ful as pos­si­ble, one thing we would like to as­sist with at AAC is look­ing into how we might be able to em­power in­di­vi­d­u­als at these or­gani­sa­tions to gain these skills so they are able to take on these more se­nior po­si­tions.

All or­gani­sa­tions unan­i­mously agreed that if their qual­ity-ad­justed pool of ap­pli­cants dou­bled for the next 3 years (vs stay­ing con­stant), this would con­tribute more to en­able them to do good as an or­gani­sa­tion than a dou­bling of their fund­ing over the same pe­riod. The ma­jor­ity agreed they would be able to dou­ble the amount of good but some more cau­tiously es­ti­mated 25% more good.


Im­pli­ca­tions for in­di­vi­d­u­als con­sid­er­ing ca­reers in an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy:

Im­pact-fo­cused ap­pli­cants to roles within the farmed an­i­mal move­ment can take steps to im­prove their skills in ar­eas iden­ti­fied as lack­ing by our in­ter­vie­wees. Below are some pre­limi­nary re­sources that can­di­dates can use to im­prove in some of these ar­eas.

Recom­men­da­tions for build­ing skills in ini­ti­a­tive:

  • Prac­tice tak­ing initiative

  • Read books such as The 7 Habits of Highly Suc­cess­ful Peo­ple by Stephen Covey

  • Im­ple­ment the ad­vice from websites

Recom­men­da­tions for im­prov­ing writ­ing:

Pos­si­ble solu­tions AAC is con­sid­er­ing to tackle the is­sue raised above:

It may well be that one of the most effec­tive ways one can make a differ­ence to the an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy move­ment is to build ca­reer cap­i­tal, alongside vol­un­teer­ing or dona­tions, to gain spe­cific skills like ex­pe­rience in man­age­ment roles, or gov­ern­ment ex­per­tise which are cur­rently the most needed in or­gani­sa­tions and the an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy move­ment. This kind of struc­tured ap­proach to ca­reer plan­ning is one we in­tend to look into sup­port­ing as an or­gani­sa­tion and could well be one of the best ways in­di­vi­d­u­als can con­tribute most to the an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy move­ment long term and a good ar­gu­ment for this was writ­ten by https://​​80000hours.org/​​ca­reer-guide/​​ca­reer-cap­i­tal/​​.

Rais­ing aware­ness of the need for skills other than fundrais­ing and re­search to con­tribute to the an­i­mal move­ment, e.g. the Hu­mane League’s video on how you can use the skills you have to make a differ­ence for an­i­mals as an economist.

One of the main fo­cuses of AAC is likely to be tri­al­ling differ­ent meth­ods to at­tract new ad­vo­cates to the move­ment to in­crease both the di­ver­sity and the num­ber of ap­pli­cants with suffi­cient ex­pe­rience and abil­ity to meet or ex­ceed the ex­pec­ta­tions of the em­ployer for their cur­rent and fu­ture jobs. Ap­proaches to be eval­u­ated in­clude head­hunt­ing, cre­at­ing new job boards or iden­ti­fy­ing com­mu­ni­ties which in­ter­sect with the mis­sion.

We could also look more deeply into train­ing. We ex­pect to re­search what kinds of train­ing are most effec­tive in helping, such as by look­ing into other pro­fes­sions that have in­vested in hiring and train­ing tal­ent to learn from ex­pe­rience and best prac­tice in the cor­po­rate and non-profit sec­tors. Fol­low­ing this we hope to:

  1. Look to di­rect can­di­dates to recom­mended work­shops or cre­ate work­shops around best prac­tices for spe­cific skills that are most needed in the fu­ture.

  2. Find­ing peo­ple within given or­ga­ni­za­tion who want to gain skills in ar­eas such as those listed above and sup­port them.

The re­sults of this ini­tial re­search sug­gest con­cen­trat­ing on try­ing to test out effec­tive solu­tions to at­tract more in­di­vi­d­u­als with these skills to these or­gani­sa­tions is a worth­while en­deav­our for AAC but also high­light the im­por­tance for in­di­vi­d­u­als to think se­ri­ously about their own ca­reer path if they are look­ing to help high im­pact or­gani­sa­tions and what might be the most effec­tive ways to gain the skills that are most needed. How­ever, please note this sur­vey is re­stricted to only in­ter­viewed high im­pact an­i­mal char­i­ties and it may well be that the ar­eas where in­di­vi­d­u­als can con­tribute the most to the move­ment would be in sup­port­ing in­dus­tries such as gov­ern­ment, academia and for-profit or­gani­sa­tions which we may also be look­ing to re­search fur­ther into later and un­der­stand how an­i­mal ad­vo­cates can po­ten­tially have a high im­pact in these sec­tors.

This is a pre­limi­nary sum­mary of our key find­ings from the re­search we have con­ducted to date, we will look to pub­lish fur­ther re­sults and data from this study on com­ple­tion.