As June came to a close, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, created in 2018 to recommend better pathways to improve job training, made it clear that long before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the global economy and created an employment crisis unseen since the Great Depression, Americans already knew they had hiring all wrong.
The executive order signed by President Trump aims to prioritize job skills, making certain a more fair and efficient hiring system is in place and that American employers are able to “…hire based on talent, expand our universe to qualified candidates and ensure a more equitable hiring process,” Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter stated.
However, the executive order, which mandates an overhaul of the government’s hiring practices, so that a job applicant’s skills will be given greater priority, is a welcome development, in theory. The point I would like to emphasize is that it will be largely through smartphone technology applications or ‘apps’ that it will be applied in practice.
This could not happen at a more critical moment, when millions of job-seekers need jobs.
Case in point
From its beginnings in Silicon Valley in 2009, Uber has since created a marketplace all its own for ‘ride-hailing entrepreneurism’. Today, Uber drivers number 3.9 million worldwide (available in over 600 cities, spread across 65 countries); a mobile app-driven economic and employment liberator which has since multiplied throughout the globe.
Or look at Airbnb … Airbnb was founded in 2008, offering arrangements through one’s smartphone or web application for lodging (e.g. homestays, tourism). The market was, simply put, frenetic. Today, there are approximately seven million Airbnb listings worldwide, in 220+ countries and regions.
As the Uber and Airbnb examples clearly indicate, the world is ready to embrace a total rethink of the hiring infrastructure in the United States. Mobile app technology can similarly empower job-seekers, ask them to input their skills, create virtual profiles for themselves, and then, in real-time, find meaningful employment, all accomplished from the palms of their hands.
Also, let’s face it, the COVID-19 crisis has left millions unemployed, many without the prospect of ever getting their jobs back.
According to recent research from the Economic Policy Institute think tank, over 10% of the American workforce who are out of work today because of the coronavirus pandemic will not have a good chance of getting called back to their old positions.
The unemployed will need to think long and hard about the kinds of jobs they envision for themselves. Priorities will include proximity to the job, opportunities ideally close to their homes and families, budget and, potentially, room for upward mobility. They will need to consider where their present skills align with the job market and how, often through online learning, they might train or ‘upskill’ to qualify for higher paying positions.
We’ve launched a machine learning-driven, patent pending application, using cutting edge smartphone technology in helping to find job-seekers part-time or full-time employment.
Our algorithm is focused on matching workers’ skills rather than their job titles or even their resumés, which we believe provides a fast, efficient and user friendly mobile-accessible experience, an alternative to antiquated key word searches on job boards.
Companies and governmental agencies will also be able to choose from a labor marketplace of readily available workers, capable of identifying where skills lie in-house, saving in both human resources time and costs while, very importantly, reducing bias in the process.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board’s other co-chair alongside Ivanka Trump, recently stated that the need for skills training and apprenticeships is as great as it was before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Americans are eager to get to work, but they need our help,” he stated.
The recruitment system was inefficient long before the pandemic’s outbreak.
We must create lasting change for the employment marketplace. There’s no time to lose.
Stephen Shefsky is a Co-Founder and CEO of Cincinnati-headquartered tilr Corporation, one of Deloitte’s ‘Top 100 Rising Stars’ and CNBC’s ‘100 Most Promising Start-Ups’, a web and mobile application that connects workers to jobs via a unique algorithm that is focused on skills, not titles. www.tilr.com. The views expressed are his own.