Will AI Impact DE&I?

Posted April 2 2024 By Saher Kazmi

There has been so much talk about AI recently and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it has all been negative. “The robots are coming for our jobs!” seems to be the rallying cry. And, whilst in some cases that may be true, many businesses are also looking to AI to bring new ways of approaching the candidate market.

As someone with a deep-rooted interest in DE&I in the workplace, it got me thinking about how business owners and HR departments can begin to leverage new technologies to reach a wider candidate pool and create a more diverse workplace.

Surely, this is a win-win situation? Well, like any new technology, incorporating AI into your hiring process is not without its risks and flaws.

Let’s weigh up the positives and negatives.


As with most technology platforms, input influences output. Therefore, with any AI programming, you would have to ensure that it was built and implemented free from existing biases within your data sets. Sadly, there have already been cases where AI models have been shown to demonstrate bias against people of colour and women when it came to job applications. There are also issues with transparency. If an AI platform makes a biased decision, who is responsible for this?

AI could also produce a poor candidate experience. We’ve all been on the receiving end of those job rejection emails that give no explanations whatsoever. If an AI is rejecting CVs or application forms based on an algorithm, you run the risk that candidates do not get meaningful feedback from your process.


Shawn Ramirez, VP of data science at Glue, is quoted in Forbes as saying, “AI recruiting tools can help companies balance the pool of candidates by improving the inclusivity of language used in job descriptions, and by sourcing candidates from underrepresented groups.” This feels like a fantastic leap forward in terms of creating job adverts that are free from loaded language and off-putting requirements lists. If set up correctly, AI models can also flag existing biases within your hiring processes and help you address these.

More than this, AI can help improve the employee experience for those already part of your business by supporting the creation of internal communications in different languages, for example, or using specific fonts or phrasing to help those who are neurodiverse. By taking this approach, you could see your retention rates improve as employees of all backgrounds feel included.

Whilst many businesses are perhaps only at the beginning of their AI journey, efforts to improve DE&I are not new. Incorporating new technologies into this process – when built and used correctly – can only serve to create a more positive candidate experience. From hiring and onboarding to keeping current employees engaged, it does seem like the rewards outweigh the risks.

All of the major studies and reporting on DE&I highlight that a workplace that is more reflective of wider society is a more productive one. And what business owner wouldn’t want that?

I recruit within the Scottish drinks industry. To speak to me about your hiring needs, click here to drop me an email.



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