Unemployment surged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people lost their jobs and/or switched careers. Globally, millions of jobs went unfilled, a dearth that left many companies desperate for qualified workers.
In Canada, at the height of the economic upheaval, 1.5 million people were unemployed, but there were over 800,000 jobs available. Darren Perlman, a warehouse manager who was struggling during this time to find enough employees to keep things running, came up with a better way to link jobs seekers with employers, and along with Daniel Copeland, the two young Canadian men founded Spotwork, an acronym for Spontaneous Paid Opportunities Today Inc.
“We knew there had to be a better way of hiring skilled workers,” Mr. Perlman said. “Clunky hiring tools and staffing agencies just weren’t fast enough when hiring managers, in places like warehouses where I worked, for example, that needed immediate and reliable workers overnight.”
The Spotwork gig app uses AI to make connections in a matter of minutes. In under 20 minutes, Spotwork can fully build a company’s profile, with a detailed description of the specific type of work that the company specializes in, and what skills are needed from potential employees. In under three hours, a fully vetted worker can be at the company’s front door, ready to check in to work via the app. The time saved in searching for qualified workers, especially when companies are in a pinch to fill a temporary position, is a huge benefit, experts say.
While gig apps are nothing new, AI is having a major impact on the gig economy, according to industry experts.
“For example, AI can be used to match workers with jobs more quickly and accurately, and it can be used to optimize the routing of workers to jobs,” said Joanne Castillo, an operations and communications management expert. “This efficiency can lead to lower costs for businesses and higher earnings for gig workers.”
“It’s certainly easier to make good matches and faster,” said Peter Cappelli, the Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School in Philadelphia. “One simple reason is that it forces employers to have more discipline as to what they are looking for because they have to fit the requirements into a standard form,” he told Techstrong.ai.
Spotwork’s app is available on all mobile devices. According to the company, job seekers can search and apply to jobs wherever and whenever they choose. “Our AI algorithms match qualified workers to job opportunities without traditional hiring biases seen in typical HR practices. Our inclusive hiring algorithm works in the background by matching qualified candidates, resulting in increased diversity within the workforce. Employers also have access to their inclusivity score through in-app data, helping them continually improve their DE&I practices.”
Spotwork gives employers access to over 100,000 qualified and vetted workers, and on each worker’s profile is a compilation of how many jobs they have worked with Spotwork, their on-time status and other metrics on job performance. Most of that workforce is skilled in areas such as warehousing, logistics, transportation, manufacturing, hospitality, and health care.
The company posts on its website some of its hiring success stories. A Toronto man named Dwight said, “I just wanted to let you know Tilley has offered me a full-time position at their company. Thanks to you and I accepted. I should start with the company on Monday.”
The company’s mission includes furthering innovation in the “socio-gig economy.”
“Using technology, we’re on a mission to help job seekers access opportunities and businesses find and retain talent in an ever-changing employment landscape,” Spotwork states on its website.
As business leaders struggle to stay properly staffed, AI is proving to be a great tool for relieving some of the pressure and digitally transforming the hiring process.