LinkedIn Network Gap with LinkedIn

Using the world’s largest professional network to create economic opportunity for the global workforce

More than 70% of professionals get hired at companies where they already have a connection. On LinkedIn, applicants who are referred to a job by a current employee are 9x more likely to get hired.

To address the existing network gap, LinkedIn sought to expand an initiative for its membership to intentionally share their time, talent & connections with someone outside their network.

Purpose helped LinkedIn reposition networking from a self-focused professional habit to a direct advocacy intervention that unlocks economic opportunities for others. To do this, Purpose built an activism strategy and delivered research & interviews, a workshop, key messaging, message testing, creative concepting, and an overall strategic plan to maximize LinkedIn’s impact in closing the network gap.

Project Type:
02. Insight & Strategy


The need for access to career opportunity is more important now than ever. Only half of the children living in America today will grow up to earn more than their parents. And the opportunity for them to do so is often determined as early as kindergarten, where racial and economic disparities influence their access to education, skills and career opportunities.

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and further strained families and communities, the economic inequalities that exist are being further exacerbated. Without equalizing access to economic opportunity for all people, the divide between the rich and the poor will continue to grow.


To address the network gap, LinkedIn created the Plus One Pledge, which asks participants to intentionally share their time, talent, and connections with someone outside their network, and sought to roll out out to a wider audience. After the launch of the Plus One Pledge, LinkedIn wanted to make it resonate with the public, bridge the awareness gap, and stay true to the social justice mission of the project.

Theory of Change

03. Initiative

Purpose conducted research about how the Network Gap manifests within and around LinkedIn. Research included interviews with stakeholders across six teams and three geographies of the LinkedIn employee community; landscape research uncovering issue space barriers, impacted audiences, and active interventions; and a materials review of existing LinkedIn Network Gap surveys, research, and adjacent programming.

From this research, Purpose built an activism approach for LinkedIn’s networking initiative that equips community leaders, uplifts community stories & expands engagement to a diverse pool of professionals.

04. Campaign & Messaging Exploration

To help LinkedIn’s brand, impact, and product teams explore how this effort could come to life for users, Purpose created a key message framework with narrative entry points for key audiences, a suite of messaging to introduce the social issue and calls-to-action, participatory campaigns to launch on the LinkedIn platform, and internal programming ideas to engage the LinkedIn employee population in the effort to close the gap.

05. Campaign Engagement

Building on Purpose’s activism approach, LinkedIn hosted Community Connect, a virtual conversation with business leaders and nonprofit professionals on how individuals and companies can take action to close the network gap. The event attracted about 9,000 viewers into the conversation. From this, LinkedIn has continued to invest in thought leadership around the network gap through its owned and earned channels.

06. Impact

LinkedIn has a strategic plan to build a community of engaged members that are primed to take action to close the network gap.

In the future, our strategic roadmap will help to create the foundation for more involved participation within the platform, including uniting movement leadership, uplifting community stories, and expanding the cycle of engagement to reach diverse professionals.

Choose Both: A Digital Guide
for Equity & Evidence