Reading, 12 December 2017 - Seven out of ten UK HR professionals (68.5%) believe that the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will result in jobs being lost in their sector by 2025. In this respect, UK HR professionals are more pessimistic than their colleagues in other countries, where slightly fewer than six out of ten (59.5%) believe that AI will lead to job losses. Conversely, six out of ten believe that the emergence of AI brings with it an opportunity to increase the impact of the HR department on their company's business. These are the results of a survey of a thousand HR professionals in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and the UK, which was conducted by iVOX on behalf of HR service provider SD Worx.
Businesses are investing heavily in digitalisation and are increasingly using computer-controlled processes in their various departments. They are also investing in AI to an ever-greater extent. With AI, technology makes autonomous decisions (in some cases), so human intervention is no longer necessary. HR professionals who use AI mainly do so to screen CV's without human intervention, to send messages to specific target groups automatically via social media and for staff training and development, for example.
UK HR professionals are more fearful than their European colleagues that the emergence of AI will lead to job losses in their sector. Almost seven out of ten (68.5%) believe that AI will result in job losses in the sector of the company in which they work. In Europe, on average, this figure is six out of ten (59.5%). Conversely, 46.3% also believe that the emergence of AI may create new jobs. This is in line with the European average (50.4%)1.
UK HR professionals are also more pessimistic than their European colleagues about the impact of AI on jobs within their own HR departments. 65.2% fear that jobs will be lost as a result of AI. This percentage is higher than it is amongst their European colleagues, where, on average, 56.6% fear job losses. Conversely, around four out of ten UK HR professionals (41.3%) are convinced that new jobs will be created within their own departments. This is in line with the European average (40.5%)2.
However, UK HR professionals see the emergence of AI as an opportunity to increase the impact of the HR department on their company's business. Just over six out of ten (61.9%) believe AI has the potential to do this. Like their European colleagues, UK HR professionals are divided on the issue of whether AI will increase or decrease the role of the HR department within their organisation. 39.3% think that the role of HR will increase, 22.2% think that it will decrease and 38.5% are convinced that AI will have no impact in this regard.
UK HR professionals are convinced that AI will affect all HR processes. According to the UK HR professionals surveyed, AI will primarily impact on payroll, recruitment and selection and time and attendance.
Finally, UK HR professionals say that they will recruit on the basis of other competencies as a result of AI. The ability to solve complex problems, focus on service, flexible thinking and people management in particular will become more important.
It's not really surprising that HR professionals don't yet have a completely clear picture of how Artificial Intelligence will impact on HR in terms of job losses or job creation, or of how our work will change. This is consistent with previous surveys around digitalisation in general and the impact that it will have. Computers won't be replacing everyone in the workplace any time soon, and the human factor will still be hugely important in HR. Clearly, however, AI has huge potential in terms of enabling HR managers to work more strategically than ever before. We are already seeing this amongst our clients, who are defining or reviewing their HR policies on the basis of predictive analytics.
1 The survey consisted of two separate questions. A first question asked whether AI would create new jobs within HR. A second question asked whether AI could lead to job losses in HR. Consequently, the total is not necessarily 100%.
2 The survey consisted of two separate questions. Consequently, the total is not necessarily 100%.