This week, the CIRHR welcomes its three newest faculty members, Santiago Campero, Alicia Eads, and Padraic Scanlan. To learn more about Dr. Eads and Dr. Scanlan, see their companion pieces in this three-part series of introductions.
Assistant Professor Santiago Campero comes to us from HEC Montreal, where he was an Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management. Santiago received a BSc in Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a PhD in Management from MIT. Prior to beginning his academic career, he worked as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company.
Trained as an economic sociologist, Santiago’s research explores the origins of various forms of inequality in the labor market and organizations. His research has a particular focus on examining these issues in the context of high-tech startups, a sector that is both an important driver of job creation as well as one where certain groups of workers (e.g., women, certain ethnic groups) are persistently under-represented.
What research will you be working on at the CIRHR?
I have several ongoing projects examining the hiring process in high-tech startups. Perhaps because startups tend to have less formalized recruiting processes, there is still a lot we don’t know about how these companies recruit and hire as they grow. I have a couple of projects aimed at shedding light into the factors that workers consider in assessing startups as potential employers. For example, in some of my work I examine how the presence of a female founder may contribute to attracting more women to work at a startup. Recently, I have also begun a project looking into the prevalence of age discrimination in high-tech startups. This is after all a sector where 35 is sometimes considered “old”!
What first got you interested in studying inequality in the context of high-tech startups?
I lived in San Francisco for five years before embarking on my PhD and, during that time, I got to know the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Silicon Valley. I became intrigued by the seemingly open and meritocratic culture of high-tech startups; where people value hard work and technical excellence, regardless of your title, experience, background, etc. This contrasted with my prior professional background in more traditional corporate settings. It also contrasted starkly with my own cultural baggage from having grown up in Mexico where social distinctions (e.g., gender, ethnicity, class) seemed much more influential (sometimes overtly) in determining peoples’ opportunities.
So, when I finally got to my PhD studies I steered my research agenda towards trying to understand the myth and reality of openness and meritocracy in high-tech startups. Of course, it also helped that at MIT you don’t need to go too far to find people with knowledge and experience in high-tech.
What is your favorite thing to do away from academia?
I really enjoy various outdoor activities, for example hiking and cycling. When I first moved to Montreal, someone suggested that a good way to cope with Montreal winters is to do outdoor activities all year. I tried to follow this advice and so have also developed a taste for cross-country skiing. One thing that I look forward to in Toronto is the lake. I really enjoy sailing and so hope to be able to get back into sailing here.