“Romance & work in the digital age” – Something to love?

I am intrigued by an article in the Economist (18th August 2018) with the title “Modern Love” which states that online dating has changed the search for a mate for better more than for worse.

According to the article one third of the marriages in America start with an online matchup. Research has also found that marriages in America between people who meet online are likely to last longer. Many couples profess to be happier than those who met offline. Globally at least 200M people use digital dating services every month.

What about work? Do online matches also create longer employment and more employee satisfaction? For a long time, people have been able to search for jobs online through job boards. Matching technologies are now used to match the right person to the right jobs; even Google entered this arena. Currently, only skills and work experience are matched with the open position. However, crucial information is missing for these matches such as (cultural) preferences, motivation, soft skills, and learning capabilities. If we were able to capture those matches as well, we might be able to make better online matches and see similar results as online dating sites.

eharmony an online dating site tried to move into the job matching arena with Elevated Careers unsuccessfully claiming that matching jobs was more difficult than relationships. The cultural aspect and the lack of information on personal preferences were mentioned as potential reasons.

I am not an expert in online dating sites as I am already 25 years blissfully married. My wishes and offering are changing over time. Now I would love to embark on a 6-month hiking-trail along the medieval Balkan route. The mere fact that I could indicate that could make a match much easier.

Comparing online dating sites with work, we see the online marketplaces (for freelancers, blue collar workers, designers, developers)  starting to scale. We estimate that on a monthly basis 50 Million workers are active on these platforms. Some of them also offer the unique capability offered by online dating sites that both parties need to consent to engagement. Currently, we do not have data on whether matching candidates and jobs through these marketplaces results in better and longer lasting employees. Adding more relevant data linked to intrinsic motivation. specific interests. culture, hidden skill sets, and capabilities by simply asking people, or by adding test results or simulated work experience will certainly result in better matches.

For me personally, for example, this would mean more impact in the world of work less organizational tasks. If these kinds of subtleties but major drivers can be caught by work marketplaces and during work, I am sure we will be able to make better matches and love work even more.

Ilonka Jankovich

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