New Māori language job-search tool furthers diversity and inclusion

Employment firm Seek recently launched bilingual search technology allowing job seekers to search the platform in either English or te reo Māori. By Meeral Gulabdas.

Genuine representation and diversity of talent within the NZ workforce matters. In fact, according to recent research conducted by Seek, nearly a quarter (22%) of Kiwis say they would leave a job due to a lack of diversity and inclusion.

Unfortunately, facing discrimination as a minority remains a common experience, and is something I have endured myself due to my Indian heritage and name. For this reason, it should remain paramount for all involved in the hiring process to champion for diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace. After all, we spend a significant portion of our time at work, so creating an environment where everyone feels valued is essential.

The technology and processes used during the hiring process play an important role in determining who can access, and increasingly the desirability of, job opportunities.

In recognition of the importance of inclusion within the labour market, Seek recently launched bilingual search technology allowing job seekers to search the platform in either English or te reo Māori. This technology is a first for an employment marketplace in New Zealand and expands the net for businesses and job seekers looking for their next team member or job opportunity.

Recognising that continued investment in technology can further diversity and inclusion in the New Zealand workforce, Seek worked alongside Māori language consultancy, Ōkupu to develop the Māori language technology.

Ōkupu helped to ensure the accuracy and nuances of translations and advised on which te reo Māori terms are most likely to be searched in the job hunt process and should be included. The result is that 99% of queries on Seek will deliver the same result for job ads in English or te reo Māori.

With the labour market in New Zealand experiencing ongoing skills shortages, harnessing the power of technology to broaden talent pools is a vital step towards successfully matching the right people with the right job opportunities.

Being able to search and browse in te reo Māori will support businesses in reaching and attracting a more diverse range of talent to their organisations

Being able to search and browse in te reo Māori will support businesses in reaching and attracting a more diverse range of talent to their organisations. Investment in technology or policies that include a wider range of people, and break down linguistic and cultural barriers, can aid in finding the right person for a business’ job opportunity – particularly in sectors that are greatly in need of talent.

Additionally, there is a growing expectation on businesses to ‘walk the talk’ on inclusion and actively engage in tools and policies that demonstrate a business’ commitment to the preservation and celebration of Māori culture.

Data tells us that importance is being placed on diversity, equality and inclusion by jobseekers. The use of inclusive technology, alongside broader workplace policies and culture, will continue to position your business as an advocate for cultural representation and inclusion. In turn, this can attract talent whose values are aligned to those of your organisation.

Employment technology, HR and recruitment professionals all play an important role in ensuring equal opportunities for all job seekers and to provide a seamless and user-friendly way to match Kiwi talent with the right roles for them.

Looking to 2024 and beyond, I think we’ll see technology companies continue to invest in services that encourage further integration of te reo Māori into our businesses and supports the needs and preferences of Aotearoa’s Māori speaking community.

Meeral Gulabdas is Seek’s Senior Customer Success Manager. She leads Seek’s SME segment in Aotearoa and is recognised as a leader in the field, best known for the webinar series, Seek Sessions, which helps large corporates, recruitment agencies and SME businesses improve talent management strategies.

 

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