McKinsey Estimates the Potential of Online Job Platforms at $2.7 Trillion

With global unemployment on the rise, finding an effective solution to connect workers with the right jobs and projects has become a pressing issue. The new McKinsey Global Institute report (archived link) finds that online job or talent platforms offer an immense potential to fight unemployment and increase the productivity of the labor market, as they are set to meet the demands of the ever more complex and international job market today.

Presently, 30 to 50 percent of the working-age population is unemployed or only occupied in part-time positions. This amounts to as many as 850 million of people in seven of the world’s major economies who cannot find work, even though the technology and healthcare industries struggle to fill open positions. Furthermore, a study by LinkedIn found that 37 percent of people feel they are overqualified for their jobs. These mismatches between workers, their skills and occupations aggregate to an immense and costly waste of potential for the global economy.

These mismatches and the increasing inability of employment professionals and public employment services to cope with the complexities of the current labor market begs the need for a smarter and faster way to connect workers with job opportunities. Online talent platforms, like or LinkedIn, provide marketplaces and tools that try to find the right work opportunities for job seekers. Over the past years they have accumulated hundreds of millions of users worldwide. While these platforms increase transparency in job markets and draw in new participants, the potential of online talent platforms is far from exhausted. Conventional platforms like or LinkedIn, which are based on key-word search, still lack the sophistication to deal with imprecise job titles such as “consultant” and evolving work practices such as short term projects, freelancing and job sharing etc., resulting in many doubtful matches for people and jobs – as most of us can probably attest from personal experience.

McKinsey estimates that online talent platforms could add $2.7 trillion to the global GDP by 2025 and increase employment by 72 million full-time-equivalent positions. McKinsey forecasts that up to 540 million people worldwide could profit from talent platforms in various ways, from finding a new job faster to finding a job better suited to their skills. The potential of online job platforms is immense, even if they reach merely a fraction of the global workforce. However, if job platforms are set to solve the global mismatch in the labor market, thereby creating a significant macroeconomic impact, they require technical innovation that allows them to connect talent and opportunities accurately. takes up the issue of matching people and jobs where conventional job platforms left off. It offers state-of-the art matching tools that bring together all of the world’s knowledge and skills quickly and accurately, irrespective of the language used. It is for job seekers, employers, freelancers and public employment services. It can precisely match qualifications and hard and soft skills in order to find the perfect job opportunities for people or vice versa. Hence, it goes beyond the conventional key-word search that most platforms offer. It takes connecting skills and opportunities to yet another level.

Software Set to Break with Bias in Job Applications

With gender diversity becoming an ever more important feature of tech companies, some employers are at a loss how to attract more women. As the graphic from Gigaom shows, tech companies struggle to attain an equal number of male and female employees, especially in leadership or technical roles. While the Mad Men days of overt discrimination against women might be over, unconscious bias is still affecting employers and job seekers, resulting in dismal diversity numbers. Cutting-edge software has the open mind that employers lack.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, job listings may contain a subtle, unconscious gender bias in the way they are phrased. Even though, these listings do not explicitly exclude women or people of colour, the language in these ads may keep them from even applying. The paper found that this issue was especially prevalent in the engineering and programming industry, as such companies included significantly more “masculine words”. Job listings containing words like “competitive”, “dominant” or “strong” made women less interested in applying – even when they possessed the necessary qualifications. Also phrases like “a proven track record” resulted in more male applicants, whereas “a passion for learning” attracted female job seekers. Unconsciously then, tech companies are upholding the status quo.

As employers find they can’t trust their own objectivity anymore, detecting and preventing unconscious bias has become a growing business. Computer scientist Laura Mather has recently created a computer programme to fight biased hiring decisions. Her start-up Unitive develops software that helps companies detect gender biased formulations and rephrase their job listings in a more gender-neutral way in order to attract more women. Furthermore, the programme has a resume review portion that separates the candidate’s education from their experience in order to circumvent for example a systematic preference for Ivy League schools. Also the job platform offers its users the benefit of gradual anonymity as it does away with the rhetoric customarily found in job descriptions. The platform helps with the formulation of objective requirements and facilitates a largely discrimination-free and transparent application process.

Technologies such as those developed by Unitive and are investments into the future. Mather says “the companies that invest in this now are going to be ahead profit-wise, innovation-wise and they probably aren’t going to have as many lawsuits”.