AI for Labour Market Matching

AI has a role to play in helping recruiters match the right people to the right jobs, but it has its limits and cannot replace the human touch. The best results are achieved by combining a passion for people with the power of technology, explains Glen Cathey, Head of digital strategy at Randstad.
AI for Labour Market Matching
The Forum Network is a space for experts and thought leaders—from around the world and all parts of society— to discuss and develop solutions now and for the future. Aiming to foster the fruitful exchange of expertise and perspectives across fields to help us rise to this critical challenge, opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the OECD.

Would you be comfortable being shortlisted and interviewed for a job by artificial intelligence?

At the OECD “AI for labour market matching” panel discussion exploring the role of AI in the world of work, more than 250 live viewers from around the world were asked this question. 

Over half (52%) would be comfortable with being shortlisted; but only a quarter (26%) felt at ease with replacing human interaction in the interview process. These poll findings reinforce our position, as the world’s largest HR services provider, that technology is best used as an enabler of human interaction and not a replacement for it. 

While technology will continue its pervasiveness, work is a fundamental, emotionally resonant part of our lives that cannot be commoditised. For this reason, the ‘human touch’ in the world of work will remain and coexist alongside technology. Labor market matching can still benefit from the human element of empathy and the ability to balance the nuances of candidate preference and ambitions with employer expectations and career opportunities. Integrating this human touch with technology - through what we call a “Tech & Touch” approach - enables technology to augment recruiters’ ability to find the right talent and pair them with the most suitable jobs. 

Balancing the pros and cons   

AI can be used to positively impact labor market matching in many areas, including:

  • programmatic advertising
  • improving the inclusivity of job descriptions
  • parsing CV’s for structured data, skills, and experience
  • matching jobs with talent and talent with jobs
  • chatbots that screen and schedule, addressing the common “black hole” applicant experience and speed up the connection of talent with jobs
  • upskilling and reskilling of talent by identifying skills gaps, recommending training and new career paths to help candidates keep pace

Balancing these positives is the fact that AI, if not developed and implemented in an ethical and responsible manner, brings the risk of bias, dehumanization of the recruitment process, and low accuracy with the likes of facial recognition and analysis. 

Read more: Artificial intelligence as a matchmaker in the job market by Stijn Broecke, Senior Economist; Lead, Future of Work Initiative, OECD

AI and the regulatory landscape 

Positioning Europe as a key global player in the future of AI, the European Commission (EC) is proposing the first-ever AI legal framework. The regulatory proposal will provide AI developers, deployers and users with clear requirements and obligations in the use of AI, to make sure that Europeans can trust the AI they are using. 

This proposal may, however, cause a disproportionate regulatory burden for “low risk” applications, such as those listed above. The industry would like to see more guidance on identifying real “high risk” applications and limiting them to individual employment decisions that are based on automated decisions or heavily rely on such AI.  

Regulations on the use of demographic data to measure and mitigate bias, with norms and standards that recognize that AI cannot be 100% bias-free, would be another welcome addition. Companies need to be supported with guidance on acceptable deviations and an indication of when bias mitigating measures are sufficient. 

The responsibility of the full chain of parties involved in the use of AI in labor market matching should be allocated proportionally - not only for the users, but also the tech providers who should be and remain responsible for the compliant design and development of the products they offer to the market as well as enabling the users to deploy AI in the right way. 

AI and the future of work 

AI has a role to play in helping recruiters match the right people to the right jobs, but it has its limits and cannot replace the human touch. This is why we believe the best results are achieved by combining a passion for people with the power of technology.

Despite the ubiquity of technology, ours will always remain, first and foremost, a business built on human relationships. It is through robust engagement and collaboration with industry-leading bodies, peers, and thought-leaders - such as the OECD - that we will shape the landscape in a way that is trustworthy, responsible, ethical, efficient and, most importantly, “human forward”.

Thank you to London-based journalist and broadcaster Emma Nelson, who moderated the panel, and to my fellow panelists: 

  • Anna Milanez, Economist in the Future of Work team at the OECD
  • Anna Banczyk, Deputy Head of Unite “Future of Work, Youth Employment” in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
  • Wim Adriaens, Director General, VDAM, the Flemish Public Employment Service
  • Nicolas Blanc, CFE-CGC, French Confederation of Management - General Confederations of Executives
  • Matissa Hollister, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University

The 2022 International Conference on AI in Work, Innovation, Productivity and Skills took place on 21–25 February—watch the replays!

Related topics

Tackling COVID-19 Future of Work Finance Digitalisation

Please sign in or register for FREE

If you are a registered user on The OECD Forum Network, please sign in