- An estimated 27 million people are “hidden workers,” or qualified applicants who struggle to connect with employers
- This pool of talent represents a source of untapped potential for companies struggling with labor issues
- Artificial intelligence in human resources might be excluding such applicants, and companies can take steps such as removing overly broad requirements from the screening process
Summary by Dirk Langeveld
While many businesses are struggling to fill open positions and maintain adequate staffing levels, millions of potential workers are having trouble getting consideration potential employers. Companies that are able to resolve this disconnect can find a ready source of qualified applicants available to them.
Joseph B. Fuller, professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School, said artificial intelligence in human resources is contributing to labor shortages as these automated processes screen out potential hires. He said that while firms that don’t connect with these “hidden workers” leave jobs open for longer or have fewer candidates to choose from, those that connect with hidden workers enjoy benefits such as adequate staffing, lower rates of turnover, and greater satisfaction with employee performance.
- There are an estimated 27 million hidden workers in the United States, one-third of whom are unemployed and nearly two-thirds of whom are working one or two part-time jobs but would prefer full-time employment
- Applicants who face repeated rejections may temporarily or permanently stop looking for work, stop applying for certain types of jobs, or stop applying to specific types of employers, increasing the potential for further labor challenges
- Fuller offers tips on how companies can connect with untapped sources of labor, including updating job descriptions to focus on essential skills, avoiding broad filters such as excluding applicants without college degrees, and seeking applicants with complementary experience
- Employers can also ensure a more successful hire of a hidden worker if they provide upskilling or training opportunities