What does the acceleration of AI mean for recruitment?

AI is fast developing and its use in the workplace increasing. What does this mean for the jobs market? Will certain roles be completely replaced by robots? We investigate what the acceleration of AI means for human workers and recruitment functions. 

The pandemic’s role in the acceleration of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been developing for decades but the pandemic has accelerated its development for use in the workplace.

Robots can’t transmit highly infectious viruses and they can easily be programmed to clean and disinfect so they held an advantage in a contact-free world.

We may be emerging from the worst of the pandemic now but AI is proving to be useful once more as candidate availability has reduced to the point where there were continues to be talent shortages in a number of industries.

The combination of a change of outlook on life and the exodus of thousands of EU workers following Brexit has left hundreds of thousands of vacant roles in sectors such as Hospitality, Healthcare and Agriculture. This has led to many businesses turning to AI to adapt to the shortage, causing some to worry about the effect this will have on the jobs market.

Some jobs are already automated

Agriculture is one sector that has been hit hard by the departure of thousands of EU workers thanks to both the pandemic and Brexit.

The industry has historically relied on low-skilled, seasonal workers from Europe, a group that doesn’t meet the requirements for a visa since Brexit. Many fled to their home countries during the pandemic and never returned.

Weed killing, picking and crop analytics are some of the ways farmers are utilising automation to adapt to the shortages of workers.

Hospitality is also struggling to recruit post-pandemic and post-Brexit, receiving amongst the lowest average numbers of applications per job consistently throughout the year according to WaveTrackR data. It is benefitting from AI, though largely in the fast-food industry where skilled cooking isn’t needed.   

Automation won’t be confined to blue-collar jobs

AI won’t just be utilised for manual labour. Jobs that involve the manipulation of data or other forms of information are ripe for automation, something that several multi-nationals have already begun to experiment with.

Certain large media outlets use AI to generate new articles and in some law firms, contracts are being analysed by algorithms that can predict the outcome of litigation.

Some are predicting that these sorts of examples will be more common than robots used in manufacturing plants, warehouses or on farms as AI that purely deals with data doesn’t require the expensive mechanics needed for physical manipulation. 

Jobs will be created as well as lost

In order to oversee and regulate both the implementation of AI within companies and its strategic development and use, software company Citrix predicts that by 2035 every organisation will be appointing a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer as standard.

Alongside a CAIO, jobs such as a Robot/AI Trainer, Virtual Reality Manager, and Design Thinker could be commonplace. Other jobs will be enabled by AI through digital assistants, freeing up time for the more creative aspects of roles.

Productivity can be increased, work could become more meaningful as the majority of mundane tasks are automated, and employees could become more engaged. 

AI viewed as a tool to support jobs

AI should be viewed as an aid to human jobs and WaveTrackR is the perfect example of this – its data-powered recommendations allow recruiters to know at the click of a button which job boards are likely to produce the highest number of quality applications for a particular job, as well as the best time to post the job in order to reach candidates when they’re actively searching.

AI helps to increase productivity and results without removing any human roles. What it does is free up valuable recruiter time to do what they’re best at, the human aspect which is at the heart of recruitment and that would be hard for AI to replace. 

The ability to adapt will be critical

There will be a pool of workers who will be affected by the advancement and utilisation of AI in the workforce, largely those who work in jobs with a good deal of dependable routine, whether that be information-based or manual.

Those are the jobs that face being slowly taken over by robots as the technology is already here and being refined.

The challenge will be whether significant numbers of those workers can upskill, retrain and adapt to doing jobs that are more creative, skilled or relationship-based. Jobs such as skilled tradesmen, caring roles that require a human touch, or creative work that is hard to replicate will be safe from AI for the foreseeable future as the technology is nowhere near capable of taking on such tasks.

Students should be advised of this when choosing careers so that we can begin to funnel the future workforce into jobs that are unlikely to be under immediate threat from AI technology.  

The advancement of AI is an unstoppable force. It’s not if it will happen (as it already is) but when it will advance and to what extent.

Some jobs will undoubtedly be lost but many will be created and AI can help to make jobs, in general, more pleasurable, removing mundane aspects and leaving more time for creativity and innovation.

Workers will need to upskill and constant learning and development will be key. All candidates and employees will need to keep updating their tech skills to remain relevant.

People will always be needed but different skills will become necessary and recruiters can future-proof their businesses by ensuring they know their industries inside-out as the market evolves. 

For further reading on this subject, check our other articles on how Hospitality faces mass EU migrant exodus as jobs soar.

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