Workshop on Data-Driven and Algorithmic Tools in Public Employment Services

Tuesday, May 25th 2021, 2PM - 7PM CEST

Algorithms to classify jobseekers have been deployed in various countries but have also been heavily criticised. We will discuss specific uses and criticisms but, importantly, also go beyond this approach and ask if / how AI can better benefit all involved stakeholders. The workshop will take the form of three keynote talks with question and answer periods, followed by a panel discussion. We are inviting a small group of audience members who we feel have a particularly strong interest in this topic and we hope will engage extensively with the speakers during the discussion periods. Some questions we are particularly interested in are: the motivation behind the introduction of such systems, how specific technological design decisions are made, and “user” perspectives on impacts of and possible alternatives to existing algorithmic classifiers (where the question of what a “user” is will be one of our topics). The goal is to benefit from one another’s knowledge and opinions and to have a diverse discussion on the topic of using algorithms to classify and/or otherwise assist participants in the job-seeking situation. A further goal would be to plan - for those who want - joint follow-up activities.

Participation Information

This is not a public event, rather, it is meant to be a smaller workshop where extensive discussion among highly interested individuals is possible. 

If you would like to attend, send a short email to by Sunday, 23rd May. We understand that you may not be able to attend the full event and welcome you to attend according to your availability.

The workshop will be taking place online, through Zoom for the plenary parts and Gather Town for networking (a web service, no software download required). A link for participation will be sent out closer to the date.


Doris Allhutter

Doris Allhutter holds a PhD in Political Science and is a senior scientist at the ITA. Her research focuses on how social inequality and ideologies of human difference co-emerge with sociotechnical systems. She studies the implicit normativity of computing practices in machine learning and AI under the lens of how these practices are entrenched in power relations. Recent publications include Algorithmic Profiling of Job Seekers in Austria: How Austerity Politics Are Made Effective in Frontiers in Big Data, and Of ‘Working Ontologists’ and ‘High-quality Human Components’. The Politics of Semantic Infrastructures in DigitalSTS: A Field Guide for Science & Technology Studies.

Martijn Wijnhoven and Maurice Guiaux

Martijn Wijnhoven and Maurice Guiaux are senior researchers at the Research and Development Department at UWV. They are involved in the development of the Work Profiler (Werkverkenner) which is a questionnaire based on predictive factors for calculating the probability of finding employment within 12 months.

Pieter Delobelle

Pieter Delobelle obtained a Master’s in Engineering Technology from KU Leuven in 2018 at the Ghent Technology Campus, Belgium. Subsequently, he obtained an Advanced Master’s in Artificial Intelligence from KU Leuven, and he stayed on for a Ph.D. in Computer Science under Professor Bettina Berendt and Professor Luc De Raedt, which he started in 2019. His current research focuses on bias and fairness in large language models, which he applies in a use-case with VDAB, the Flemish unemployment office. 

Dianne Schwartz

Dianne Schwartz is a registered clinical counsellor in the province of British Columbia specializing in Career and Employment Counselling, with extensive experience providing career and employment counselling in both the private and public sectors, including universities, colleges, government agencies and through private practice both locally and internationally.

Nina Spurny

Nina Spurny studied Media Management and, after a few years in academic Public Relations, joined, where she helps give the association’s important digital justice concerns the stage they deserve. is an Austrian civil rights organisation that sets its core research foci on data protection, surveillance, net neutrality and internet politics.

Basanta Thapa

Basanta Thapa is social scientists focussing on the nexus between public administration and digitalization and a PhD candidate at the University of Potsdam. He works at ÖFIT, a think tank for public IT at Fraunhofer FOKUS.

Anne Kaun

Anne Kaun is a professor in Media and Communication Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden. Her research interests include media theory, mediated temporalities, algorithmic culture, automation and artificial intelligence from a humanistic social science perspective. She is currently studying the automation of welfare in the Baltic Sea region from a comparative perspective. Additionally, she is working on a book on Prison Media under contract with MIT Press.

Workshop Schedule


14:00 – 14:10


14:10 – 14:55

Keynote: Doris Allhutter – How Algorithms for Job Seekers shape the relationship between citizens and the state. (drawing, among other things, on analyses of the Austrian AMS algorithm)

14:55 – 15:40

Keynote:  Martijn Wijnhoven and Maurice Guiaux – On developing the Work Profiler (Werkverkenner) in the Netherlands

15:40 – 16:00 


16:00 – 16:35

Keynote: Pieter Delobelle – Job matching and fairness: experiences from a partnership with VDAB (Belgium) 

16:35 – 18:50

Panel discussion (including intros, question round, open discussion period and a break) 

Panel participants: Nina Spurny (Epicenter, Austria), Basanta Thapa (University Potsdam, Germany), Anne Kaun (Södertörn University), and Dianne Schwartz (Job Counsellor with Greater Vancouver Regional District, Canada)

Workshop Organizers

Betinna Berendt – Technische Universität Berlin, Weizenbaum Insitute, KU Leuven.

Pieter Delobelle –  KU Leuven.

David Hartmann – Technische Universität Berlin.

Milagros Miceli – Technische Universität Berlin, Weizenbaum Insitute.

Elena Murasso – Technische Universität Berlin.

Kristen Scott – KU Leuven.

Sonja Wang – Technische Universität Berlin.

We are an interdisciplinary team comprising the Chair for Internet and Society at TU Berlin as well as researchers from KU Leuven’s DTAI research group and the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society.

Workshop Materials and Slides

© Milagros Miceli 2020