Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the world affecting every industry from education to infrastructure. The introduction of AI makes doing business quicker and minimises human error but what does it mean for the employment services sector? Our Founder and Director, Paul Diviny shares more about how AI is set to transform the sector. 

When most people think of AI, virtual assistants, smart robots and self-driving vehicles come to mind. But already today, there are expert systems that can quickly and effectively collect and analyse data about an unemployed person and predict their chances of moving into employment.  

Based in Estonia, Eesti Töötukassa is a quasi-governmental organisation that helps unemployed people find jobs. Employment consultants use a decision-support system called OTT which uses AI to evaluate customers on 60 different attributes and indicators.  

Interestingly, this tool also takes into consideration the temperature of the economy and then calculates the likelihood of moving the customer into employment after 35 days. It also calculates the probability of becoming unemployed again within a year, and the factors affecting these probabilities are made available to consultants and managers. ​ 

This innovative technology supports Eesti Töötukassa’s employment consultants to understand whether a customer will easily transition to a new job without any support. It also flags customers who will need intensive counselling and guidance, providing them with an opportunity to more effectively service these customers. 

This is important because OTT helps employment consultants triage between their ‘truly’ job ready customers and those who will need more intensive supports. This AI also helps to inform the best service delivery methods for individual customers (eg face-to-face, online); how often they need to be engaged; what critical success factors are required for sustainable placement; and possible interventions. 

The OTT involved years of extensive research and development which included five years of historical data​; a prototype created in partnership with local university, a pilot, change management program for staff and full implementation.  

In Australia, AI is already being used in recruitment for tasks like social media analysis, software that screen resumes and shortlisting candidates based on key words. There’s also lots of conversation about the potential of AI to reduce unconscious bias in recruitment which could help improve diversity and inclusion. In addition, employment services provider, Asuria, has developed a new artificial intelligence algorithm with Deakin University which is expected to be launched mid this year.   

Of course, AI like other technology, poses implementation challenges and risks that must be considered. In particular, we know that the adoption of new technology among staff requires training and change management. 

Prospert expects that AI will continue to have a significant impact on the employment services market. The new Workforce Australia focus on digital delivery will provide a strong dataset to inform the future evolution of the employment services sector. When technology is delivered with a human face, it will not only transform the sector but also deliver an improved experience for customers and employers alike.