Amazon abandons AI recruiting tool as it discriminated against women

AI iStock

Amazon has abandoned a trial project using an AI recruiting tool because it showed bias against women.

Reuters reports that sources claimed an Amazon team had been building computer programmes since 2014 to review job applicants’ CVs in a bid to mechanise the search for top talent.

The experimental recruitment tool used AI to award candidates scores ranging from one to five stars, according to the sources.

However, in 2015 it emerged the new system was not rating candidates for software developer jobs and other technical roles in a gender-neutral way as computer models were trained to assess candidates on patterns in CVs submitted over a 10-year period. 

As most of these CVs came from men, the system taught itself to prefer male candidates.

While Amazon adapted the programs in a bid to make them neutral, this did not guarantee that the machines would come up with other ways of sorting candidates that could prove discriminatory, with Amazon disbanding the team by the start of last year as executives lost hope for the project, the sources said.

Recruiter understands the project was only ever used in a trial/developmental phase and was never rolled out to a larger group, while the project was abandoned for many reasons, including the fact it never returned strong candidates for the roles.

And in a statement an Amazon spokesperson said the tool was never used by Amazon recruiters to evaluate candidates.

• Comment below on this story. You can also tweet us to tell us your thoughts or share this story with a friend. Our editorial email is

Recruiters on the case after shock Honda job loss announcement

Recruiters say they are they already fielding enquiries and registering candidates in response to Honda’s closure news.

20 February 2019

Recruitment drive in the Lake District for summer jobs

Windermere Lake Cruises has launched a recruitment drive to fill 100 summer jobs.

18 February 2019


This week’s appointments include: Carlisle Support Services, Cathcart Energy, CCS Recruitment, Cherry Professional, Cordant Engineering, Debut, Hudson Global, Impellam, Inspired Recruitment, Jackson Hogg, La Fosse, Nigel Wright Group, Outsource UK, Sheffield Haworth, Supertemps

People 18 February 2019

Circle Select spoofs well-known retailer to promote its interim services

Circle Select has taken inspiration from retailer M&S for their latest promotional YouTube video.

Lighter Side 15 February 2019