Artificial Intelligence Is Increasing Workplace Diversity

Algorithm Automatically Finds Job Opportunities for Minority “Silver Medalists”

Thousands of people from under-represented minorities find work, thanks to an automated artificial intelligence system.

Technology developed by Joonko, an Israeli startup, scans the database of job applicants at American Express, Nike, Walmart, Booking.com, Adidas, PayPal and many other global enterprises.

It identifies the “silver medalists” from minority groups – those who were close to getting a job, but didn’t quite make it – and finds them similar vacancies to apply at other companies.

As of 2021, it has helped 250 applicants find jobs each month in the US.

Joonko helps people from under-represented groups find work. Courtesy Jopwell at Pexels

“We’re basically helping companies source underrepresented minorities through an automated solution,” says Ilit Raz, founder and CEO of Joonko.

“Most companies spend tons of hours manually sourcing under-represented candidates, if they know how to use the pools – and most of them don’t.”

She founded the platform in 2016 to connect highly qualified, under-represented candidates with global companies that care about diversity. They don’t have to lift a finger. Joonko has access, with permission, to applicant tracking systems and automatically searches for opportunities in all companies it works with.

The company, based in Tel Aviv, is named after Junko Tabei, a Japanese mountain climber who became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1975. Raz says her perseverance shows them that no challenge is too great. Get.

A photo of Junko Tabei in 1985, the first woman to conquer Mount Everest. Courtesy Jaan Künnap / Wikimedia Commons

Joonko is connected to companies’ applicant tracking systems, databases that receive thousands of applications per month. When it identifies a shortlisted candidate from an underrepresented group (women, people of color or veterans) who didn’t make the cut, it reaches out to them and asks if they want to join the platform.

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If the silver medalists say yes, Joonko analyzes its subscribed pool of companies to see if there are suitable vacancies, and automatically emails them custom job recommendations twice a week.

Joonko’s talent pool is open only to professional people from the under-represented groups referred to the platform by one of its partner companies.

“The nature of the platform generates a situation where the company, which is the demand, actually brings the supply with them,” Raz told NoCamels. “It’s just a supply that they don’t need and other companies might want to look at.”

Joonko sends two emails to its silver medalists with customized job openings. Courtesy Olya Danilevich at Pexels

“We are only focused on under-represented minorities, which no other platform is. The other thing is the ‘product’ itself, where all the candidates were silver medalists, which means they reach the last two steps of the hiring process.

“Because they didn’t win the opportunity, they were invited to our pool, potentially getting an opportunity for another company. So basically, everyone in the pool is an under-represented minority, pre-weighted highly qualified candidate.

Joonko is able to access the candidates by connecting to the applicant tracking systems of its partner companies, a software program that manages the hiring process by screening thousands of resumes.

Companies pay a subscription fee based on the volume of jobs they have. So small companies with 10 open positions will pay less than companies with 2,000.

“We analyze every candidate who doesn’t get an offer, and try to understand their gender, race and veteran status using algorithms that we developed in-house. And once we do that, we’re able to match them and determine if they’re relevant.” For the pool or not,” she says.

Many companies began increasing their transparency and diversity efforts after the killing of George Floyd in 2020. Courtesy F. Muhammad of Pixabay

“We plug into the systems and get access to them so that when you get rejected, we understand if you’re a silver medalist and have all your information,” says Raz.

“So we can analyze your demographics, identify the jobs you’ve already rejected, so we can actually go ahead and match you with a similar job.”

Besides the importance of promoting tolerance, diversity actually benefits companies in many ways. Research shows again and again that ethnically and gender diverse companies are more likely to outperform their peers, and companies with women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time.

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And yet, whites still make up the majority of the US. labor force with 77 percent. Joonko is working to change this statistic by increasing diversity among global enterprises.

The Joonko staff. Courtesy Abishg Sher-Yishuv / Junco

“I really wanted to create a solution that is interesting enough from a technology perspective, but also solves the problem of underrepresented minorities in the workplace,” says Raz.

In the past two years, Joonko’s sales have grown by 500 percent.

“I think it all started from the movement that started after George Floyd’s death, in 2020, that started forcing companies to be more transparent. And with that transparency, they have to improve.”

Joonko says the average business leveraging its platform sees a 25% increase in underrepresented candidates in their hiring funnel (the series of stages through which a candidate’s consideration for employment progresses), and hires one-in-six of The candidates are sourced by. The platform.

In the platform, 97 percent of candidates identify as under-represented in the workforce – 68 percent as women or non-binary, 32 percent as black, and 21 percent as Latino (a person of Latin American origin/descent).

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