How AI can help create a more inclusive workforce

Despite a growing number of interventions that aim to shed light on, and address gender disparity in the boardroom, the state of diversity among UK tech companies remains to be unbalanced.

A report on “Diversity and inclusion in UK tech companies” by TechNation shows that over the last two decades, the proportion of women on tech boards has remained relatively the same, with a reported 77 percent of tech director roles fulfilled by men, compared to 23 percent women.

It’s clear that a lot more work is needed on bridging the gender gap balance in the tech industry and beyond. And while the conversations around International Women’s Day are so vital in the process of social change, unfortunately, stats like these demonstrate that the honour and achievements of women are not always recognised throughout the rest of the year.  For real change to happen, companies must think of these issues from a long term perspective.

Diversity and inclusion in recruitment

Much of the lack of diversity across the workforce comes down to recruitment practices, and more recruiters are beginning to search for ways to implement more inclusive strategies.

Inclusive recruiting is an attempt to understand how current recruitment and unconscious bias can get in the way of valuing people from all walks of life and how they might benefit your business. As a Bristol-based talent agency, we work with many businesses to deliver their recruitment needs, with diversity and inclusion practices integrated into all of our practices.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce not only benefits the people but also the business too by driving revenue and profits. In fact, according to EY, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have higher financial returns than their industry peers. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are also 15 percent more likely to perform better financially than their peers.

Let’s take a look at some of the leading software helping companies of all sizes to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

Driving diversity with HdE LABS

At HdE TALENT, we have invested heavily in making sure that we are a voice for change in the talent market, putting candidates at the centre of everything we do. Our Predictive people analytics platform, HdE LABS, provides human resource and recruitment professionals with the data and insights they need to make better-informed decisions about potential talent.

With over 60 assessments measuring over 120 attributes, we help businesses identify, retain and maximise the performance, potential and fit of a candidate. HdE LABS is built on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data science and cognitive neuroscience to help identify potential over experience.  

Our HdE LAB data have proven to assist companies like Schroders, BlackRock and BT in making better informed and less-biased decisions around recruitment and assessments. Lloyds of London has recently achieved a gender equality of 93.75 percent through their recruitment process using HdE LABS, enabling a fairer and more accurate approach to talent management compared to their more traditional recruitment processes.

Text analysis to reduce bias in job postings

Job advertisements are very often the first impression a potential candidate makes of your company. In the journey to creating a more inclusive workplace, action should start from the very first line of the job advertisement. Unconscious bias can often impact the way an advertisement is written, and this can really have an impact on how inclusive your company appears.

Fortunately, AI is helping to solve this problem by using algorithms to look for potential biases. Textio is an example of a leading company that is doing just this and is used by companies all over the world including the likes of Cisco, Slack, and Spotify.

According to Textio, using gender-neutral language in job postings is crucial in attracting a diverse mix of talent. Such job postings are filled 14 days faster than posts that contain masculine or feminine bias. 

Texio uses an algorithm that ingests 10 million job openings per month, with software that searches and analyses language patterns and rates phrasing against criteria such as the number of applicants a job gets and the percentage who qualified to get an interview.

Using natural language processing (NLP), the algorithms come up with alternatives to phrases to recommend ones found in the most successful job descriptions.

Blind recruitment which a focus on skills and abilities

While we all want to improve inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, the reality is, we are inherently biased. We can’t stop ourselves from automatically liking people who resemble ourselves.  An AI technology company helping to address this issue is expert predictive analytics company, Cognisess.

Its AI-driven platform, Cognisess Pro, help recruiters and decision-makers gain an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for a role – regardless of background. It does this by using AI to assess and objectively identify the best candidate by purely focusing on skills and abilities. This, combined with blind recruitment, ensures a much fairer process with information such as age, gender and race hidden from assessors.

The AI platform is data-driven with 50 assessments to choose from measuring over 120 attributes. Cognisess Pro has enabled many businesses to make better informed and fewer bias decisions about recruitment and assessments, including helping hotel giant, IHGm eliminate potential bias by a whopping 93 percent.

Video-based AI to assess the potential biases of interviewers

In recent years, we have seen the introduction of video technology that can give feedback on the possible unconscious bias of interviewers, as indicated by speech and body movements during interviews with candidates. 

An example of such software is Inclusive.HR, who look to combat those unintended biases through machine learning and insights. Through its Interview Bias Identifier solution, it:

  • Captures video of candidate and hiring team.
  • Combines insights from the assessment from the interviewer, interviewee, and another layer of machine learning to provide insights around moments of unconscious bias.
  • We provide a diagnostic summary from body language analysis to help you identify where the message and impact may not be well-aligned.

With its solution, Inclusive.HR hope to empower companies with actionable insights as to where and when bias is impacting recruitment results.

Using AI to help address the workplace gender pay gap 

Gapsquare is a leading provider of fair pay, pay gap and pay transparency analysis software, developing intuitive tools which empower businesses and HR teams worldwide to build equality and diversity & inclusive practices into everything they do.

The Gapsquare team is made up of data, tech and AI experts and experienced equality and diversity practitioners who have built FairPay® to allow companies to move forward on building the fairer workplaces of the future.

In a recent interview with us, Gapsquare founder Dr Zara Nanu explained:

“I co-founded the company after hearing the World Economic Forum predict that it would take 217 years before the Gender Pay Gap could be closed. At the same time, the WEF said that by 2030, we’ll be in self-driving cars, healthcare would be automated and remote, and we’d be on our way to Mars. Yet, we would still be 200 years away from closing the Gender Pay Gap. I realised that there was potential to harness the power of tech, data and artificial intelligence to accelerate social change and achieve fair pay for everyone.” 

Technology is by no means perfect. It does, however, have a remarkable potential to improve outcomes in diversity and inclusion.  Technology is maturing quickly and is constantly improving. As such, more biases are being recognised and eliminated, leading to rapidly accelerating progress on diversity and inclusion within the workplace.