22nd July 2016
by Richard Pope
Poor quality job adverts are bad for the UK for several reasons.
Firstly, Citizens Advice research has shown that adverts that miss basic information, like salary range, location or contract type, waste the time of employers and people looking for jobs.
Secondly, vacancies are published as text not as data. This makes it harder to build new tools, for example, to help benefit claimants find work. It also makes it harder to ask detailed questions about what is happening in the UK’s labour market right now. We know in real-time what is happening to the UK’s river levels or how many people are registering to vote, but when it comes to which exactly where jobs are being advertised at a specific location and in a specific sector, we have to guess.
Finally, the content of job adverts is also important. There is evidence that the language used in job adverts can influence the gender balance of applicants and that small changes in language elsewhere in the job application process can affect the diversity of applicants.
The readability of the content is also important given half of the UK working population have a reading age of 11-years-old or younger.
So, how can technology help? There are a couple of ways:
The schema.org jobPosting standard gives publishers a structure to follow when they publish their jobs online. It includes fields for location, pay, skills, working hours etc. The standard has been adopted by the UK and US governments, and several large job search websites are beginning to support it.
If we can get more employers publishing their jobs using the standard and following a few other basic guidelines, then we can make the UK job market a bit better.
The standard, in turn makes it possible to perform other checks. It is possible to automatically check the quality of information contained in the advert (eg does the location say ‘Greater London’, or does it give a full address). It is also possible to automatically check the language used.
So, we’ve built the Better Job Adverts tool. It checks job adverts against the jobPosting standard and, where the result is positive, it performs a series of other checks:
The code is available on github.
How did our jobs do?
Doteveryone don’t currently have any vacancies, but we tracked down an old advert and ran it through the tool. It didn't pass the test for schema.org. So we have some work to do ourselves.
Doteveryone's principal partners are: