CSIRO deploys AI-powered insight to support Indigenous recruitment

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Australia’s national science research agency, the CSIRO, has unveiled AI-powered insights that it says will help increase Indigenous representation in the workforce.

The insights, backed by artificial intelligence (AI), identify areas of misalignment between employers seeking to recruit Indigenous talent and the profile of the Indigenous workforce.

The research was launched in response to concerns expressed by employers struggling to find Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates and a need by industry to develop targeted employment strategies.

It analysed big data collated for the Indigenous Jobs Map, a free online platform created by the CSIRO, which helps employers match their recruitment strategies to the careers of Indigenous job seekers and students.

The agency said the map used AI and natural language processing to analyse data from all job ads posted on Adzuna Australia between 2016 and 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, and training and higher education completions.

Executive manager of the CSIRO’s Indigenous Engagement Office and Indigenous Jobs Map Steering Committee Member Louisa Warren noted that cultural capability-required roles doubled over the past six years. This demand, she said, could be better met through attention to the location and qualifications of Indigenous workers across the nation.

“Targeted strategies could include offering remote work to attract people who would like to stay on-Country connected with their community, or creating roles in fields where qualified Indigenous workers are well-represented but demand is lower – fields such as architecture and building, and agriculture and environment,” she said.

According to the CSIRO’s lead researcher, dr Claire Mason, the ability to use AI and big data to support organisations’ Reconciliation Action Plan objectives drove the creation of the platform.

“While the data shows strong growth in demand for Indigenous talent in the market, these postings are concentrated in three sectors and one occupation group – community and personal service workers,” she said.

“We also discovered that certain sectors, like arts and recreation, offer well-paid and high-skilled roles for Indigenous workers, but in most industries, identified job postings were for low-skill and less well-paid roles.

“To support employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians, high-quality roles with opportunities for development and training need to be offered across a more diverse range of industry sectors.”

The Indigenous Jobs Map (IJM) was created virtually and serves two primary purposes, according to the CSIRO.

First, it can inform Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students, teachers, advisors and workers’ career decisions. Second, it can inform recruiters and employers who are seeking to employ Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IJM provides data on the types of jobs that are advertised in different geographic locations.

Users can also see what types of qualifications are in demand by focusing on job ads that require a qualification in a specific field of education (e.g., Justice and Law Enforcement) or a specific level of education (e.g., Certificate IV).

The second purpose of the IJM is to help employers understand how their job offerings can be better aligned with the pool of Indigenous talent in their region and sector.

Therefore, the IJM uses 2021 Census data and graduate data (provided by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment) to show how the population of workers and graduates varies across Australia.

Users can choose to filter the data to see how these numbers vary depending on the type of qualification or industry experience chosen. With this information, employers can tailor their recruitment strategies to better align with the career pathways and/or geographic location of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.