October 6, 2021

Let’s Reimagine Government Employment Systems

Millions of open jobs. Millions of job seekers.

Something’s not working.

We have a re-employment system that relies on displaced workers’ ability to search and interpret vaguely worded job descriptions and to self-assess their own fit to roles. Anyone who has ever done a job search knows that this is a broken, frustrating and time-consuming process. Yet state benefits subsidize this inefficient system, paying millions of dollars weekly until their residents discover the right job.

If we can optimize the job matching system, we can quickly find people the right employment opportunities, which reduces time on unemployment and benefit obligations.

The Role of AI

For the unemployed, finding a job is simply a search problem. It’s not that there aren’t any jobs out there. It’s knowing which jobs are right for the individual. This is where AI can be a game-changer. By understanding what an individual is capable of through a deep understanding of their skills and capabilities, we can instantly surface the best jobs for them — even if they have never done the job before.

Artificial intelligence can also guard against bias by anonymizing the identity of an applicant to a hiring manager. And AI also can surface a candidate for consideration based on their potential. Often when hiring managers are determining fit, they only look at what a candidate has done in their past and they don’t evaluate their potential. A restaurant manager doesn’t just know food; he or she may have experience in hiring, morale, budgeting, supply chains, and more. A school teacher could make a good product trainer. From truck drivers to chimney inspectors to auto mechanics, jobs now involve a great deal of technology. AI can show people how their skills can be redeployed into new and exciting roles.

The State of Indiana, among other states, is moving to AI-driven websites to match job-seekers with open jobs. The U.S. military, too, will be piloting the use of AI to enhance profiles and make better matches for veterans transitioning to civilian jobs.

In the publication Government Technology, Eightfold’s Dan Hopkins recently wrote about this re-imagination of employment systems in the public sector. Check it out here.