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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Technology that automates recruiting and hiring can be partly to blame for the current labor shortage, according to a new Harvard Business School and Accenture study.

Driving the news: More than 90% of employers in the U.S., U.K, and Germany surveyed said that they use automated systems to filter or rank candidates first. Those systems often eliminate candidates that could be a good fit for jobs with training, but whose resumes don’t precisely match the pre-set criteria.

Why it matters: Some prospective employees that companies desperately need are being excluded before they even get a chance to be considered.

State of play: Automation came about during the 1980s and ’90s to expand labor pools, leading to “a deluge of applicants” that has reached an average of 250 applicants per corporate job posting.

  • As a result, companies have relied on more automated systems to help filter through all the submissions.

Yes, but: “[M]ost companies’ hiring systems yield results as if they were designed to prevent hidden workers’ applications from advancing," the study’s authors conclude.

  • Instead, those systems facilitate the traditional "checks-all-boxes" hires, they said.
  • The vast majority (88%) of survey respondents said that they believe qualified candidates for high-skilled jobs are eliminated because those applying don’t match job descriptions exactly, while close to all (94%) said qualified middle-skill workers get eliminated.

The big picture: When pools of applicants grow with fewer of them moving on, it reinforces an employer’s perception that there are not enough qualified applicants — leading companies to rely on these technologies even more.

  • “The cycle builds on itself,” the authors write.

Go deeper

Workers are worried about COVID

COVID concerns are keeping a growing number of Americans out of the labor market.

Why it matters: The wave of Delta variant infections over the past two months has renewed worker fears, which threatens to exacerbate ongoing labor shortages.

DOJ sues American Airlines, JetBlue to block "unprecedented" alliance

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued American Airlines and JetBlue to block an "unprecedented series of agreements" that will consolidate the two airlines' operations in Boston and New York City.

Why it matters: The civil antitrust complaint alleges that the planned Northeast Alliance (NEA) "will cause hundreds of millions of dollars in harm to air passengers across the country through higher fares and reduced choice," the DOJ said in a release.

FBI: Body identified as Gabby Petito, death ruled a homicide

A memorial dedicated to Gabby Petito near City Hall in North Port, Fla. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

A body found in Teton County, Wyoming, on Sunday was confirmed to be the remains of missing 22-year-old blogger Gabby Petito, the FBI announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: The death was ruled a homicide by the Teton County coroner's office, the FBI said. The cause of death has not been determined.

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