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Member Q&A: Corinne Proske, Jobsbank CEO

April 7, 2022

Tell us about your organisation? 

Jobsbank is an independent not-for-profit committed to social procurement and inclusive employment. We work with industry and government to support and enable organisational capacity in the social procurement and diversity & inclusion space. We offer a range of advisory, brokerage and advocacy services, linking employers with service providers working with jobseekers experiencing disadvantage, and helping employers to create workplaces where all staff can thrive.

We also connect organisations with a range of targeted social impact suppliers to meet social procurement objectives, such as social enterprises, Aboriginal-owned businesses, disability services and employment providers, community organisations and for-purpose employment agencies.

How are shared value principles influencing your work? 

Most current employment platforms and recruitment processes make it very tough for jobseekers experiencing disadvantage. In 2021, we began working with the Brisbane-based development team at Refugee Talent to co-design a new employment platform, Inclusion Hub. Inclusion Hub grew out of a clear need for an Australian employment tool that helps “hidden talent” get in front of organisations committed to inclusive employment.

Designed to help capture candidates’ skills, experience, and aspirations, Inclusion Hub is only accessible to employers committed to inclusive employment, and on the other side, to referral organisations representing specific communities. When employers put job opportunities on the platform they are matched with appropriate candidates based on skills, removing the unconscious bias that can be created by, for example, candidates’ names and non-work background. Employers can source and screen candidates based on skills and attributes that align with their objectives. The referral organisations – employment partners working with jobseekers with barriers – can also view jobs, recommend suitable candidates and support both candidates and employers through the recruitment process.

The platform is centred entirely on removing bias, and actively helping people who are hidden by traditional recruitment platforms to get in front of employers. It is an Australian – possibly world – first, and we hope it will change the landscape for the many thousands of Australians denied opportunity due to unconscious bias and outdated recruitment practices.

What challenges have you’ve faced in pursuing this initiative, and how have you overcome them? 

Building a relatively complex online platform, most of the challenges have been around holding the user experience of the different user groups in mind, and ensuring new developments or additions don’t impact the user experience for different groups.

As an example, the Inclusion Hub de-identifies candidates because we don’t want bias to influence employers at the initial stage. But of course employers need to know candidate names and details to invite them for interview, so seemingly small issues such as what stage of the process we introduce candidate names has been an interesting user experience challenge.

There are many, many data inputs at the employment provider end which allows the platform to be as inclusive as we want it to be, but more inputs means more work for referral organisations when loading candidates … so balancing user experience and functionality for separate user groups has been key.

What are some of the most pertinent issues in Australia that could be solved through creating shared value?

A secure, meaningful job is vital and should be available to all Australians who want one. Not only do jobs provide the ability to meet basic needs and plan the rest of our lives, they enable us to be more effective members of our communities.

Far too many skilled and motivated Australians feels locked out of the job market due to systems long overdue for change: people with disability, those from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds, older and younger Australians, those touched by the justice system, single parents… the list goes on. These people have skills, motivation and the ability to contribute, but the barriers to sustainable employment have only increased over the past two years.

Shared value will help our society learn to meet these cohorts where they are, encouraging employers to be flexible, and enabling them to create genuinely inclusive workplaces.

Why do you believe shared value is important today?

Creating an equitable society where all people are valued, and social and environmental benefits are considered in all decision-making, is not the work of any one government or business – it must be done collectively and collaboratively.

What has drawn you towards the shared value community?

Encouraging and enabling industry sectors to tap into the business benefits of social procurement and  inclusive employment is enormously exciting. Creating social impact means collaborating, supporting and finding a way to help.

The shared value community is full of likeminded businesses and organisations coming at societal and business problems from a huge range of vantage points. It’s a well of experience, skills and knowledge and I’m excited to contribute to and be part of it.