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Agnes Wun: Combating Hiring Discrimination through Generative AI

Agnes Wun: Combating Hiring Discrimination through Generative AI


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Agnes Wun, the co-founder and CEO of Neufast. Let’s learn what’s happening at Neufast and how Agnes is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Anges! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Neufast?

Agnes: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Most often, video interviews for employment opportunities are conducted in English, dominated by key players in the US. This poses an opportunity for social and ethnic discrimination against non-English-speaking job candidates in other parts of the world, such as developing countries. Moreover, biases even in AI algorithms may perpetuate discrimination against minority group members, as reported by the Financial Times. This is because personally identifiable information (PII) such as facial images, skin color, and gender are being used by AI models as part of the talent assessment process. This can cause significant adverse impact to the realization of human capital and productivity.

Spiffy: What motivates you to tackle this challenge?

Agnes: As a womantrepreneur, I was born and raised in Hong Kong, a city with a multilingual environment composed of Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. I studied in a Catholic school for girls in Hong Kong with bi-lingual education. After passing a series of cognitive and psychometric tests, I was offered a full scholarship to pursue my GCE A Levels in Singapore at an age of 17 in a culturally diverse environment in the ASEAN region. As an introverted, married, Asian female engineer, I felt I was losing out in my job interviews despite being good at my studies. I co-founded Neufast to break down biases in employment by offering a digital tool in 13 languages with a patent for PII removal to discover human potentials while eliminating discrimination in employment.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Agnes: Since launching Neufast Enterprise in Q2 2020, Neufast grew our revenue at the CAGR of 170% and acquired nearly 50 direct customers in eight markets in APAC and the EU. In the last six months, we launched a new use case with AIA Malaysia for supporting a workforce of 30,000 in Malaysia. Neufast achieved profitability with USD 520K sales in FY 2023/24 with 90% renewal rate with clients. Neufast signed the Racial Diversity and Inclusion Charter for Employers issued by the Equal Opportunities Commission in Hong Kong. We make reference to best practices aimed at improving racial diversity and inclusion within workplaces in our product development for equal opportunity regardless of race, sex and age.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Agnes: Neufast recently obtained A1 for our USPTO patent filing for PII redaction using generative AI to offer “blind search” for employers. This will further support employers in achieving ESG targets, compliance with anti-discrimination laws, and for achieving their business goals through talent retention and productivity improvement. The WIPO patent search result can be found here

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Agnes: I am happy to share the good news about our client, AIA Malaysia. One of our products went live and was publicized in Malaysian news channel The Star as of February 28, 2024. Five key business benefits were noted: 1. Winning the talent war: the product helps attract a wider talent pool with a spike of quality hires; 2. 88% time-to-hire reduction; 3. 1.5x productivity improvement: streamlining operations; 4. Real-time AI recommendations: helps managers understand the likelihood of success of their candidates; and 5. ESG: the AI system looks beyond the candidate's background, thus it eliminates unconscious human biases as compared to face-to-face interviews.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Agnes—it’s been an honor!

Ms. Agnes Wun, CEng, CPA (Aust.), FRM, MIEEE, MIET, MBA, MSc, DIC, B.Eng. Hons., is the co-founder and CEO of Neufast. Neufast employs big data and artificial intelligence in cloud-based AI-powered video interviewing platform. In her early career, she worked as a marketing engineer with ABB, and as a software engineer building iPhone apps with Accenture in London. She served at the Labour and Welfare Bureau in the public education of mental health and persons with disabilities. She worked for Gazprom Marketing and Trading in business planning and advanced to the board level of post-acquisition portfolio companies of Cheung Kong group. She has experience in recruitment, workforce planning, executive incentive design, and strategic planning. (Nominated by Max Kahn of SAP.io. First published on the Ladderworks website on March 15, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.