Applying for a job with the state is expected to become easier starting next month.

The Minnesota Management and Budget Office on Dec. 8 will launch a new online application system, a project that took two years to complete and cost $5.1 million to build. It will replace outdated software that users frequently complained was cumbersome and provided little feedback throughout the application process, a budget office spokeswoman said.

The new system, designed by Oracle Corp., comes at a critical time for the state. Officials are ramping up efforts to recruit more diverse candidates for state jobs, with a focus on hiring managers and other executives. A 2014 state workforce report showed that minorities are underrepresented in state government. A more recent report by the Diversity and Inclusion Council found that some minority job candidates “don’t believe there’s a commitment to diversity,” partly because the old software didn’t provide updates throughout the hiring process, leaving them discouraged.

“It’s important that our [human resources] systems support our efforts to attract, retain and develop our highly talented and diverse state workforce,” Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans said in a statement. “Improving the job applicants’ user experience was a main driver for this system upgrade. Once the system is up, we will be continually improving it and asking for ­feedback and suggestions to help make it even better.”

About 8,000 people apply for state jobs every month, officials said. At any given time, the state has about 250 jobs posted online.

The old application system is slated to shut down Dec. 4, and budget officials are urging job candidates who have their résumés stored to retrieve them before it goes dark. No application materials will be transferred over to the new system, said Janelle Tummel, a budget office spokeswoman.

Once it’s operational, the new job application software is expected to provide job candidates more transparency and give human resources staffers the ability to quickly sort through applications. The screening of résumés should become easier with the upgrade, Tummel said. In the old system, rather than submitting documents directly, candidates could only copy and paste their résumé text — losing any original formatting and making it difficult to read. Also in the new software will be an automated message function to communicate with job candidates.

“The HR team can, with a click of a button, send a notice, and you, as an applicant, can go in and see if you’re still being considered,” ­Tummel said.

The program also is expected to provide the state with better data about job candidates, including their racial and ethnic background. The previous system did not allow job candidates to select more than one ethnicity. That made it difficult for those prospective employees who self-identified with more than one race or ethnic background, Tummel said. Now they can report more than one option, she said.

“The new system is really slick,” Tummel said.