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The upside of the rise of the machines: How AI can transform the way we look for jobs

The upside of the rise of the machines: How AI can transform the way we look for jobs 

And yet, open positions remain vacant while large percentages of applicants never hear back from employers. Many Canadian companies are also hiring more than they did last year. According to our August Workforce Report for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), hiring in the region is up more than 23 per cent year-over-year, good news for anyone looking for work in the region.

While Canada’s workforce is changing, the same new technologies that are driving this uncertainty can also hold the key to promoting greater prosperity.

My work with LinkedIn affords a great deal of time to think about how social media and technology can positively influence the modern-day job seeking and recruitment processes. I see a huge opportunity for AI to transform how employers fill open positions and professionals find their dream jobs.

Innovation drives uncertainty. Today’s rapid pace of technological change only accelerates this trend, making it hard for today’s workforce to keep pace with the skills needed for the jobs that are and will be instead of the jobs that once were. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, half of subject knowledge gained during the first year of a four-year technical degree is already outdated by the date you graduate.

Data is one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal to combat uncertainty and help workers make more informed decisions when it comes to their careers in this rapidly shifting landscape. That’s why LinkedIn is working to create the first digital mapping of the entire global economy, the Economic Graph, harnessing the data from 500 million members to help professionals around the world become more productive and successful.

And as AI allows us to filter through and analyze previously unimaginable pools of data, it has the potential to dramatically accelerate this mission and enable us to identify the most important insights and trends impacting the global economy in real-time.

AI as an opportunity, not a threat. Instead of being viewed as the problem, innovation can be viewed as part of the solution. According to a recent McKinsey report, automation has the potential to boost global productivity growth by 2.8 per cent in the next 50 years.

AI is already shaping the way we experience the job application process, because it is starting to know more about candidates, the companies they are joining, and the work they need to do, making data matching much more powerful and practical than ever before, and helping the right people get in front of the right opportunities at the right time.

Too often, applying for jobs feels like throwing your resume blindly into an abyss. Imagine that you could focus all your efforts on companies that are looking for candidates exactly like you, with your experience and specific skillset. AI-powered data matching can help surface your application for the roles that you’d be perfect for. However, as algorithms are engineered to sift through pools of data and make informed recommendations based on key insights, the onus is on you to create a strong online presence. Including relevant information on your LinkedIn profile like the skills you have, projects you’re proud of and causes that you’re passionate about can help intelligent algorithms find you and connect you with the right opportunities.

What comes next? Already, AI powers nearly your entire user experience on sites like LinkedIn through recommendation engines, but the implications for job seekers as this technology is more widely adopted are particularly exciting. We can expect to see more companies adopt artificially intelligent algorithms to replace human subjectivity, bias and inconsistency of measuring suitability, aptitude or culture fit. As technology progresses, employees searching for new work can spend more time focusing on value-add activities like preparing for the interview rather than looking for the job itself. Automating menial tasks frees up time to prepare yourself for when the right opportunity arrives.

While the rise of AI will undoubtedly transform the fabric of the Canadian job landscape, ultimately, it will never replace humans fully. For example, when machines can diagnose medical conditions better than humans, physicians don’t disappear, they have more time for patient care. Likewise, when machines can take over templated tasks, you can focus on developing your hard skillset, pursuing your passions and making yourself a more desirable candidate. 

Chris Brown is the Director of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn Canada.

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