Why Ethical AI & Automation is Good Business in a Labor-Constrained World

Despite economic headwinds, the labor market remains tight. While there may be some softening of the U.S. labor market, hiring quality talent will remain challenging. This expectation is based on recent Employ Inc. data and Bureau of Labor Market Statistics, which projects that the U.S. labor shortfall will continue through 2030. 

When finding quality talent, taking a look at the macroeconomic picture is important but almost secondary to basic business needs. Over nearly a decade of Employ survey data and economic fluctuations, finding quality talent is consistently the #1 or #2 priority for recruiters. Should we experience any short-term hiccups, the medium to longer-term outlook is clear: we are in a labor-constrained world, and finding quality talent will remain a top priority. And tools like automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help organizations work smarter, not harder when filling their candidate pipeline.

The Many Uses of AI

With most recruiters citing the lack of talent to fill positions as today’s biggest recruiting challenge, per Employ benchmark data, AI can play a valuable role in helping organizations reduce their time to fill and hire the best possible candidates. When properly implemented, AI gives recruiters more choices over candidates. And choice is king in a labor-constrained world.

AI can speed the hiring process by reducing the time recruiters spend sourcing. For instance, Employ data revealed in-house sourcing can take up to 30% of the time to fill. AI-powered sourcing allows talent acquisition teams to instantly identify quality candidates and build more expansive, diverse talent pools. For instance, with AI-driven data analysis, talent acquisition systems can automatically allocate job board budgets toward the highest yield channels. In another application, AI paired with automated outreach tools is a proven way to quickly and efficiently grow candidate pipelines. In this use case, AI-powered tools automatically search your CRM and previous applicant pools to identify and invite high-quality candidates to apply.

Expanding the candidate pool by considering talent with different backgrounds and skills is a must in today’s fast-moving world. AI can help recruiters explore an ever-widening candidate pool and understand which skills and experiences are similar to the hard-to-find skills you crave. That is, AI goes beyond keyword matching and automatically detects the skills and experiences relevant to your job description. As a skills translator, AI plays an important role in helping recruiters understand job and skill similarity, thereby giving more individuals an opportunity.

Lastly, AI can help mitigate bias during the hiring search. AI can scrub data points reflective of race, gender, age, and more to ensure that initial screening efforts focus on the candidate’s skills and ability to perform the job. An overlooked benefit of AI is the ability to prohibit a negative correlation between a job and a skill. Prohibiting negative correlation means that a candidate is not harmed for possessing skills or experiences irrelevant to the job. This allows recruiters to prioritize and build a more diverse workforce, which continues to be a high priority for job seekers today, according to Employ Inc.’s 2022 Job Seeker Nation Report.

Ethical Implications of Using AI

There is a rising chorus of ethical concerns about the adoption of AI in recruiting and hiring. In recruiting, using AI ethically can help to mitigate bias, ensure privacy, and reduce avoidable risks. The funnel of candidates can also expand in the ethical application of AI for recruiting to ensure everyone is welcomed into the hiring process and, therefore, essential in recruiting in today’s labor-constrained world.

However, biased, unethical algorithms can narrow the candidate pipeline by excluding or under-representing subpopulations. In a tight labor market, limiting the candidate funnel will result in fewer available workers. And using AI to restrict the candidate pool is bad for business in a labor-constrained world and may produce biased outcomes. Therefore, implementing ethical AI that widens the candidate funnel and promotes inclusion and diversity is good for business.

Increased Regulation of AI

There are several ongoing conversations in the U.S. and Europe on regulating the use of AI. This conversation focuses on standardizing definitions, defining requirements, and promoting transparency in HR and recruiting. And perhaps counterintuitive, increasing regulation and transparency of AI has the potential to speed the adoption of AI in highly regulated industries such as hiring.

Establishing clear standards and requirements around the use of AI will smooth the buying process and increase adoption. With AI transparency and legal requirements, buyers will be more comfortable buying products as the bias hurdle shifts from sales to meeting well-defined standards. Thus, increased regulation will allow HR executives to spend less time understanding potential bias and more time understanding the product’s real value.

With the anticipated increase in AI adoption due to increased regulation, some may fear AI will replace recruiters. But that’s false. Greater adoption of AI will lead to more, not fewer, conversations between recruiters and great candidates. AI has the potential to get recruiters back to what they genuinely love, clicking fewer buttons and having more conversations. In reality, recruiters and managers who embrace AI will have better job security because they’ll hit hiring metrics by serving in a more strategic role. And those hiring managers who don’t leverage AI may be replaced by those that do.

In Conclusion: Ethical AI is Key to Successful Hiring.

AI can be a great tool when used correctly and ethically. Focusing on the right AI use cases unleashes a goldilocks scenario where business incentives and ethical AI align to provide broader, more diverse candidate pools. At the same time, with increased pressure for speed in the hiring process, it’s more critical than ever to ensure efficiency, quality, diversity, and ethical hiring practices are in place. Companies that focus on great tools and compliance create a level playing field for all applicants. As a result, everyone has a fair chance of getting the job they want, and organizations can be more successful in a labor-constrained world.

Morgan Llewellyn serves as Chief Data Scientist at Jobvite, an Employ Inc. brand (, where he oversees AI product initiatives and leads the data engineering, reporting, and analytics teams. Dr. Llewellyn is responsible for setting Jobvite’s data strategy and oversees the launch of features, including Candidate Matching, Job Description Grader, and Zero-Click Intelligent Sourcing. Understanding the importance of DE&I in recruiting, he ensures focus on inclusive, transparent solutions. Prior to joining Jobvite, Dr. Llewellyn founded Predictive Partner, an AI consulting company. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hope College and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.

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