Could AI be the Key to a Happier Life at Work?

The popular narrative around AI describes a world where robots replace all humans, leaving the masses jobless and obsolete. But despite this shared anxiety, we at untapt have seen some exciting and unexpected things when AI meets hiring: Not only do more people get hired more efficiently, but they’re happier too.

Let’s take it back it to the beginning: According to an infamous Gallup Poll, 70% of Americans aren’t engaged at work. The results are even worse abroad, spiking up to a whopping 85% of employees around the world. This trend is only expected to grow as more young people enter the workforce, “[grinding] the life out of them” over time. There are a countless number of economic and psychological factors that contribute to this crisis, but for this piece I’ll focus on two central questions: Why do people take jobs that don’t satisfy them, and why do they stay?

The more I thought about them, the more evident it became that these problems stemmed from the broken hiring practices that most companies employ. In a typical recruitment phase, a company can see anywhere from tens to tens of thousands of resumes, having to sort haphazardly through them by hand and often outsource an agency to help with the process. Even with an abundance of options, it can be difficult to accurately identify candidates who have all the proper skills to excel in role, especially in specialized fields like technology. This all leads to more expenses for the company, slower interviews, imprecise job-filling, and a general sense of dissatisfaction from employees. That’s where AI can come in.

In the world of HR, AI can aid hiring decisions immensely by doing things like pre-scanning resumes with incredible accuracy, testing employee’s neuroplasticity, and other clever techniques. Using Natural Language Processing and Deep Learning, advanced algorithms are able to “read” resumes and job descriptions with the accuracy of real human recruiters, speeding up the process and reducing human error/bias. It’s a tool for drawing insights across a large candidate pool, identifying opportunities for the company. But I believe there is something even more powerful this technology can do: Help people find the career paths that they truly want in life.

In industries like technology where open roles readily outnumber skilled candidates, job-seekers are still misunderstood and struggle to find what they want. Though most hirers assume that attracting great technologists is all about upping the salary, we discovered that job-seekers consistently ranked technology and compensation as roughly equivalent in their list of priorities. Close behind are quality of life, location, and ability to travel/vacation. I hired and worked with plenty of developers during my years as an MD at JP Morgan, and I still didn’t consider this until our data made it clear.

As more companies start utilizing artificial intelligence in their recruiting and internal role-assigning processes, more insights will surely come to the light. We believe the true innovation will happen when this technology gets applied to employee happiness as well as corporate profit. We’ve already begun these processes at untapt, where our smart-matching software reduces wait times after an application, improves interviewing procedures, and allows us to offer personalized advice to struggling job-seekers.

The best part is that driving a more productive, fulfilled workforce has tons of measurable benefits as well. Happy employees stick around longer and are on average 20% more productive than their unhappy peers. If ill-fitting roles, squandered potential, and fear of unemployment are symptoms of a system that is fundamentally ineffective, then AI holds the key to the future. It is the “new electricity,” as Computer Science Pioneer Andrew Ng has called it. The true beauty of this technology is that it can solve business inefficiencies and human problems in one fell swoop. It enables hiring managers to make the best decisions for their teams, keeping everyone happy and gainfully employed.

So returning to the nightmare of robots replacing people and stealing away their jobs, we think that humans might just come out on top of this new deal. From the very beginning, Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing have been technologies with the capability to enhance human decisions without replacing them. A lot subtlety goes into the process of building a team, so there are certain things that a machine will never be able to do. In my career, I’ve only wanted to eliminate wasted time, wasted potential, and establish a filter for quality. But now I’ve seen the true potential of AI in hiring and want to see how far it can go.

Though some have grown skeptical of AI’s trendiness, we continue to see incredible developments in the space every day. We started our journey in AI before it was a popular topic because we saw huge potential in this technology to change the world. And we still intend to do so, one happy employee at time. We believe in the Deep Learning tools we’ve built and see unlimited potential in their ability to further the interests of job-hunters and hirers in every sector.

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