Opportunities and risks in the use of AI in career development practice


  • Marianne Wilson
  • Peter Robertson
  • Peter Cruickshank
  • Dimitra Gkatzia




ICT, Online guidance, Artificial intelligence, AI, Ethics


The Covid-19 pandemic required many aspects of life to move online. This accelerated a broader trend for increasing use of ICT and AI, with implications for both the world of work and career development. This article explores the potential benefits and challenges of including AI in career practice. It provides an overview of the technology, including current uses, to illustrate ways in which it could enhance existing services, and the attendant practical and ethical challenges posed. Finally, recommendations are provided for policy and practice that will support career development professionals in managing these risks and maximising benefits to service users.


Baker, R. S. (2016). Stupid Tutoring Systems, Intelligent Humans. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 26(2), 600–614. https://doi.org/10.1007/S40593-016-0105-0

Baldwin, S. (2006). Organisational Justice. The Institute for Employment Studies.

Bender, E. M., Gebru, T., McMillan-Major, A., & Shmitchell, S. S.-G. (2021). On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big? Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, 610–623. https://doi.org/10.1145/3442188.3445922

Bimrose, J. (2021). Labour Market Information for Career Development: Pivotal or Peripheral? The Oxford Handbook of Career Development, July, 282–296. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190069704.013.21

Birhane, A. (2021). The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity. Artificial Life, 1, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1162/artl_a_00336

Black, J. S., & van Esch, P. (2020). AI-enabled recruiting: What is it and how should a manager use it? Business Horizons, 63(2), 215–226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2019.12.001

Blodgee, S. L., & O’Connor, B. (2017). Racial Disparity in Natural Language Processing: A Case Study of Social Media African-American English. Workshop on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning. http://arxiv.org/abs/1707.00061

Blustein, D. L., Kenny, M. E., di Fabio, A., & Guichard, J. (2019). Expanding the Impact of the Psychology of Working: Engaging Psychology in the Struggle for Decent Work and Human Rights. Journal of Career Assessment, 27(1), 3–28. https://doi.org/10.1177/1069072718774002

Bommasani, R., Hudson, D. A., Adeli, E., Altman, R., Arora, S., von Arx, S., Bernstein, M. S., Bohg, J., Bosselut, A., Brunskill, E., Brynjolfsson, E., Buch, S., Card, D., Castellon, R., Chatterji, N., Chen, A., Creel, K., Davis, J. Q., Demszky, D., … Liang, P. (2021). On the Opportunities

and Risks of Foundation Models. In arXiv preprint arXiv:2108.07258. http://arxiv.org/abs/2108.07258

Booth, R. (2019, October 25). Unilever saves on recruiters by using AI to assess job interviews. The Guardian.


Career Development Institute. (2019). Career Development Institute Code Of Ethics. https://www.thecdi.net/write/Documents/Code_of_Ethics_update_2018-web.pdf

Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. (2021). The roadmap to an effective AI assurance ecosystem.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.


Chamorro-Premuzic, T., Polli, F., & Dattner, B. (2019). Building Ethical AI for Talent Management. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/11/building-ethicalai-for-talent-management

Ciechanowski, L., Przegalinska, A., Magnuski, M., & Gloor, P. (2019). In the shades of the uncanny valley: An experimental study of human–chatbot interaction. Future Generation Computer Systems, 92, 539–548. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.future.2018.01.055

Dastin, J. (2018, October 10). Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-amazoncom-jobs-automation-insight/amazon-scraps-secretai-recruiting-tool-that-showed-bias-against-womenidUKKCN1MK08K?edition-redirect=uk

European Commission. (2020). White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en.pdf

Exec. Order No. 13859. (2019). Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence. In 84 FR 3967.Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/DCPD-201900073

Fitzpatrick, K. K., Darcy, A., & Vierhile, M. (2017). Delivering Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Young Adults With Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Using a Fully Automated Conversational Agent (Woebot): A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health, 4(2), e19. https://doi.org/10.2196/mental.7785

Floridi, L. (2021). The European Legislation on AI: a Brief Analysis of its Philosophical Approach. Philosophy & Technology, 215–222. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-021-00460-9

Floridi, L., Cowls, J., Beltrametti, M., Chatila, R., Chazerand, P., Dignum, V., Luetge, C., Madelin, R., Pagallo, U., Rossi, F., Schafer, B., Valcke, P., & Vayena, E. (2018). AI4People-An Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations. Minds and Machines, 28(4), 689–707. https://doi.org/10.1007/S11023-018-9482-5

Følstad, A., & Brandtzæg, P. B. (2017). Chatbots and the new world of HCI. Interactions, 38–42. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3085558

Forum for Ethical AI. (2019). Democratising decisions about technology A toolkit. Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. https://www.thersa.org/reports/democratisingdecisions-technology-toolkit

Fry, H. (2018). Hello World. Random House.

Gee, K. (2017, June 26). In Unilever’s Radical Hiring Experiment, Resumes Are Out, Algorithms Are In. Wall Street Journal (Online). https://www.wsj.com/articles/inunilevers-radical-hiring-experiment-resumes-are-outalgorithms-are-in-1498478400

Gran, A.-B., Booth, P., & Bucher, T. (2020). To be or not to be algorithm aware: a question of a new digital divide? Information, Communication & Society, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2020.1736124

Hai-Jew, S. (2009). Designing automated learning for effective training and skills development. In Handbook of Research on E-Learning Applications for Career and Technical Education: Technologies for Vocational Training (pp. 14–33). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60566-739-3.ch002

Heffernan, N. T. (2003). Web-based evaluations showing both cognitive and motivational benefits of the Ms.Lindquist tutor. Artificial Intelligence in Education, 115–122. http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-540-30139-4_46

Hirevue. (2021). End-to-End Hiring Experience Platform: Video Interviewing, Conversational AI & More | HireVue. https://www.hirevue.com/

Hooley, T. (2017). A War Against the Robots? Career Guidance, Automation and Neoliberalism. In Career Guidance for Social Justice (pp. 93–107). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315110516-6

Hooley, T., Hutchinson, J., & Watts, A. G. (2010). Careering through the Web: the potential of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies for career development and career support services. UKCES. https://derby.openrepository.com/handle/10545/198269

Hooley, T., & Staunton, T. (2020). The Role of Digital Technology in Career Development. In P. J. Robertson, T. Hooley, & P. McCash (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Career Development. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190069704.013.22

Hughes, D. (2021, October). The Bot Working On Experts And Advice With Human Careers Information. Career Matters, 9.

Jaser, Z., Petrakaki, D., Starr, R., Oyarbide, E., Williams, J., & Newton, B. (2021). Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the job interview process: Toolkit for employers, careers advisers and hiring platforms. Institute for Employment Studies.


Kim, E. S. (2020). Deep learning and principal–agent problems of algorithmic governance: The new materialism perspective. Technology in Society, 63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2020.101378

Kretzschmar, K., Tyroll, H., Pavarini, G., Manzini, A., Singh, I., Sharudin, A., Pavlov, B., Davis, C., Mooney, D., Kibble, E., Tuckwell, G., Lewis, G., Heelas, J., Dixon, J., Bransby-Meehan, J., Katz, J., Seeney, L., Lee, A., Allegri, M., … Grp, N. Y. P. A. (2019). Can Your Phone Be Your Therapist? Young People’s Ethical Perspectives on the Use of Fully Automated Conversational Agents (Chatbots) in Mental Health Support. Biomedical Informatics Insights, 11. https://doi.org/10.1177/1178222619829083

Laberge, L., O’Toole, C., Schneider, J., & Smaje, K. (2020). How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever. In McKinsey Digital and Strategy & Corporate Finance Practices.

Lassébie, J., Vandeweyer, M., & Vignal, B. (2021). Speaking the same language: A machine learning approach to classify skills in Burning Glass Technologies data (No.263; OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers). https://doi.org/10.1787/adb03746-en

Linardatos, P., Papastefanopoulos, V., & Kotsiantis, S. (2020). Explainable AI: A Review of Machine Learning Interpretability Methods. Entropy, 23(1), 18. https://doi.org/10.3390/E23010018

Mckie, I. A. S., & Narayan, B. (2019). Enhancing the Academic Library Experience with Chatbots: An Exploration of Research and Implications for Practice. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 68(3), 268–277.


Moore, N., & Czerwinska, K. (2019). Understanding the use of digital technology in the career development sector. University of Derby. https://derby.openrepository.com/handle/10545/624311

OECD. (2021a). State of Implementation of the OECD AI Principles: Insights from National AI Policies. www.oecd.ai

OECD. (2021b). Recommendation of the Council on Artificial Intelligence, OECD/LEGAL/0449. https://legalinstruments.oecd.org/en/instruments/oecdlegal-0449

Olney, A. M., D’Mello, S., Person, N., Cade, W., Hays, P., Williams, C., Lehman, B., & Graesser, A. (2012). Guru: A computer tutor that models expert human tutors. 11th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, 256–261. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-30950-2_32

O’Neil, C. (2017). Weapons of math destruction : how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. Penguin Books.

Paladines, J., & Ramírez, J. (2020). A systematic literature review of intelligent tutoring systems with dialogue in natural language. IEEE Access, 8, 164246–164267. https://doi.org/10.1109/access.2020.3021383

Prochaska, J. J., Vogel, E. A., Chieng, A., Kendra, M., Baiocchi, M., Pajarito, S., & Robinson, A. (2021). A Therapeutic Relational Agent for Reducing Problematic Substance Use (Woebot): Development and Usability Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(3). https://doi.org/10.2196/24850

Rahwan, I. (2018). Society-in-the-loop: programming the algorithmic social contract. Ethics and Information Technology, 20(1), 5–14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-017-9430-8

Saldeen, N. A. (2020). Artificial intelligence chatbots for library reference services. Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences, 23(S1), 442–449.

Schmidt, L. (2018, January 31). A Glimpse Into The Future Of Recruiting. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/larsschmidt/2018/01/31/a-glimpse-into-the-futureof-recruiting/

Scottish Government. (2021). Scotland’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Suen, H. Y., Chen, M. Y. C., & Lu, S. H. (2019). Does the use of synchrony and artificial intelligence in video interviews affect interview ratings and applicant attitudes? Computers in Human Behavior, 98, 93–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.04.012

Suharwardy, S., Ramachandran, M., Leonard, S. A., Gunaseelan, A., Robinson, A., Darcy, A., Lyell, D. J., & Judy, A. (2020). Effect of an automated conversational agent on postpartum mental health: A randomized, controlled trial. American Journal Of Obstetrics And Gynecology, 222(1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2019.11.132

Suresh, H., Lao, N., & Liccardi, I. (2020). Misplaced Trust: Measuring the Interference of Machine Learning in Human Decision-Making. WebSci 2020 - Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Web Science, 315–324. https://doi.org/10.1145/3394231.3397922

Tambe, P., Cappelli, P., & Yakubovich, V. (2019). Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources Management: Challenges and a Path Forward. California Management Review, 61(4), 15–42. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008125619867910

Vallor, S. (2021, February). The Thoughts The Civilized Keep. Noema. https://www.noemamag.com/thethoughts-the-civilized-keep/

van den Broek, E., Sergeeva, A., Huysman, M., & Paper, S. (2019). Hiring Algorithms: An Ethnography of Fairness in Practice. International Conference on Information Systems, 1. https://aisel.aisnet.org/icis2019/future_of_work/future_work/6

van Esch, P., & Black, J. S. (2019). Factors that influence new generation candidates to engage with and complete digital, AI-enabled recruiting. Business Horizons, 62(6), 729–739. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2019.07.004

van Esch, P., Black, J. S., & Ferolie, J. (2019). Marketing AI recruitment: The next phase in job application and selection. Computers in Human Behavior, 90, 215–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.09.009

van Rijmenam, M., Schweitzer, J., & Williams, M.-A. (2019). Overcoming principal-agent problems when dealing with artificial agents. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333079462

Wagner, D. N. (2020). The nature of the Artificially Intelligent Firm - An economic investigation into changes that AI brings to the firm. Telecommunications Policy, 44(6). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2020.101954

Watts, A. G. (2002). The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Integrated Career Information and Guidance Systems: A Policy Perspective. National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling, 2, 139–155.

Willson, M. (2017). Algorithms (and the) everyday. Information, Communication & Society, 20(1), 137–150.


Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. Profile Books. https://doi.org/10.26522/brocked.v29i2.849