As technological innovations have boosted data collection and processing capabilities in the last decade, tools and platforms using this technology have changed or accelerated how job seekers and employers nd each other. Combined with overall labor market trends that see workers changing jobs more frequently and a higher need for more specialized skills, these matching technologies will have a continued and increasing role to play in the labor market far into the future.
While new labor market matching technologies offer opportunities, they also present challenges and have the potential to exasperate old problems regarding career mobility and equitable hiring practices. The rapidly shifting ways technology is used in the matching process without a trusted basis of validation also leads to questions about which tools are most useful, which are inefficient or potentially detrimental, and how to use these tools generally.
The limitations of technology are particularly concerning for low- and middle-skilled workers, who have struggled to find their footing in the current post-recession economy, and more often lack the technological access, knowledge, and networks to leverage the new matching technologies.
This report shows the types of matching technology being used today and explores how different users – job seekers, employers, and other stakeholders – are interacting with these new tools. The report also identifies the benefits and challenges of using these technologies, and surfaces further questions and realities that must be confronted for labor market matching technology to have its greatest impact in the future.
It is clear that technology can both help and hinder groups of users, depending on how it is designed and implemented. Some tools merely shift what used to be o ine into an online world, creating new and higher access limitations and hiring biases.
Technology alone is not the answer to traditional challenges in labor market matching, and existing technological tools are not without their concerns. Much of the publicly available data that contribute to labor market matching technologies is either untimely or unwieldy. Data collection responses from the private sector have shown initial promise, but challenges remain for job seekers and employers alike.
Importantly, as they currently are deployed, many matching technologies may negatively impact low- and middle-skill workers, especially if they do not enable skills-based hiring or provide in-person assistance to complement the primarily online tools.
Steve Yadzinski, Chief Operating & Technology O cer of Innovate+Educate, outlined the challenge facing labor market matching technology succinctly: “The single biggest barrier is that people constantly underestimate how challenging the market is. Understanding the matching of people to jobs is an incredibly complex problem with a tremendous variety of variables.”
An open question remains as to the full impact of labor market matching technologies on a job seeker’s navigation through his or her search or on an employer seeking to ll an open position. By ensuring that the data that undergird the technology are as precise, accurate, and timely as possible, outcomes from these technologies can start to match their promise. Moreover, by enhancing assistance and on-ramps to the technology for low- and middle-skill workers, all institutions in the labor market will help to ensure that these individuals are not left behind in using these new technologies to find and employment.