Can AI eliminate the hiring bias?

25th March 2019

We believe technology is the answer to discrimination.

The conversation surrounding bias and discrimination in the tech industry is clearly growing. This is very inspiring and motivational, but there is still a lot of space for improvement.

According to our recent research, a third of people experience discrimination when on the hunt for their dream job.

AI is expected to create $13 trillion in value for businesses by 2030. While other industries are rapidly adopting AI and machine learning, recruitment seems to be falling behind. The way of working so far is neither benefiting job seekers or businesses. In turn, it seems to be fuelling the issue of diversity.

At JamieAi, we work on building a technology that will enable us to offer equal opportunities based on skills, experience, and interests.

Addressing the issue

Bias and lack of diversity in the tech workforce is not an unknown issue. Numerous businesses are now trying to attract and hire a more diverse pool of employees. The willingness companies have shown in the past year is very inspiring. Of course, there is a long way to go!

To overcome the challenges we must focus on education and awareness. This along with technology implementation will be the key to remove the unconscious bias from the hiring process.

In our survey, half of the responders said they felt age played a part when asked what factors were affecting their ability to land interviews or job roles, while a third said gender. A further 21% said social status makes an impact, while 16% of people said that either their religion or sexuality had been an obstacle in finding employment.

With discrimination experienced so widely during the hiring process, it is no surprise that two-thirds of candidates enhance their job applications and a half embellish qualifications or experience. Alongside these revelations, our research found that 14% had changed their name to sound more “English”, while 13% had given the wrong age.

With data like this, there is no surprise the recruitment industry is ripe for change. Candidates should not feel the need to exaggerate or hide aspects of their applications in order to combat discrimination!

Is technology the answer?

Bias is an intrinsic part of the human character. When recruiters ask candidates for demographic information, they inadvertently create space for discrimination to fuel existing biases. We believe that by harnessing technology in the right way we can start to counteract this.

Thankfully, we are now seeing new models emerge that focus on skills, experience, and preferences. Doing this not only reduces and prevents discrimination, but also increases the overall accuracy of the service.

At JamieAi we are working on the best fit and match accuracy. We urge industry leaders to add a tech first approach to their hiring process and focus on activating solutions that achieve greater accuracy and begin to put an end to hiring bias altogether.

Our vision for JamieAi is to dramatically increase diversity in the hiring process, making sure our technology and approach is unbiased by excluding the use of names, age, gender and ethnicity in our data. We don’t ask the questions in the first place, which means user’s profiles are based purely on relevant skills, expertise and what they are looking for. This essentially increases accuracy and ultimately eliminates the hiring bias.

A look ahead

Despite the current issues facing the industry, the future is not bleak. At JamieAi we continue to work with businesses that are placing a bigger emphasis on sourcing diverse talent than ever. We have noticed that businesses are becoming increasingly willing to put more resources to make this happen.

This is happening hand in hand with businesses who are also transforming their culture by developing a more inclusive and flexible workspace. Businesses can attract diverse talent by demonstrating their strong cultural reputation and flexible working culture. A clear progression structure is also one of the ways to attract diverse and driven talent.

It’s widely acknowledged that diverse workforces pave the way for incredible levels of innovation and business growth. Cultural change combined with technological advancements will be the way in which companies can best tackle this issue. We’re already seeing this take place across a number of businesses. This continued shift in company attitudes, coupled with the introduction of AI, will lead to hiring bias becoming a thing of the past.

*Research of 500 job hunters conducted by Atomik Research in January 2019 on behalf of JamieAi

This post and the findings of our survey are featured in: Information Age, HR Review, Recruitment Headlines,  The Global Recruiter, Business Chief Europe, BBC

Read also: The sins of recruitment

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Irene Papantoniou

I’m nosy and always joining mid-way through conversations.

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