Can the implementation of artificial intelligence in the recruitment process enhance the inclusion of disadvantaged groups? A study of Swedish companies

The use of AI in job recruitment is said to make the process both more efficient and less discriminatory. But is this really true? This project will study the effects of using this new tool.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will inevitably transform human societies. However, experts disagree on whether the overall effects of this transformation will be positive or negative for ordinary citizens. When it comes to AI and job recruitment, some experts argue that ‘intelligent’ algorithms can be designed to assess job applicants in an unbiased manner. Therefore, algorithmic evaluations will be more fair than human judgement. Other experts argue that these algorithms will come to reinforce the cultural biases of the societies in which they are employed. Therefore, algorithms will create discriminatory rules and discriminate systematically and at a much large scale than humans.

However, there is yet no empirical research on the effects of AI recruitment in practice, i.e. in real organizations. The aim of this project is to begin to fill this void by studying the consequences of AI in recruitment concerning the inclusion of groups that are known to suffer from discrimination or inequality; women, foreign born and older people of working age. The project has a mixed methods approach and will study employee and recruitment data at Swedish companies that has recently begun to employ AI-technology in their recruitment processes. It will aim to understand organizational change using qualitative methods and compare outcomes concerning employee composition and other relevant outcomes before and after the implementation of AI using quantitative methods. 

Duration

2020–2023

Principal Investigator

Moa Bursell Researcher in Sociology and Research leader at the Institute for Futures Studies

Project members (outside IFFS)

Funding

Swedish Research Council