AI Tech Expected to Have Positive Economic Impact on Future Workforces
Innovation has ignited people’s imagination and fueled societal advancement throughout history. Similar to the rudimentary inventions that led to the industrial revolution and the technological advancements that enabled space exploration, artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various aspects of our daily lives.
AI is like oxygen. It is all around us. From the complex to the simple, it is embedded in our everyday lives: it has dramatically changed how we interact with household appliances, choose a movie, purchase products, and get real-time directions. For employers, AI is also the only way to effectively scale and enhance the talent experience — hiring, growing, and retaining employees. But what does the future hold for this technology?
In a joint report recently released for the U.S. and European Union Trade and Technology Council (section B of this statement), the potential economic impact of AI was examined — with specific commentary about its influence on future workforces, “outcomes in employment, wages, and the dispersion of labor market opportunities.”
Our CEO and co-founder, Mahe Bayireddi, was quoted in the report, sharing his perspective on AI’s tremendous global impact.
According to Mahe, AI is empowering recruiters to evolve their roles and become talent advisors — which is good for recruiters, candidates, and organizations as well. We’ve seen a seismic change in the last five years. Most recently, recruiters have been challenged to do more with less resources — with each having to fill an average of 50-60 open roles at any given time.
Many organizations are looking to AI as a way to both increase hiring efficiencies and reduce recruitment costs. Most notably, recruiters are using AI to make stronger connections with more candidates by personalizing interactions and replacing system administration with automation. This allows more time for recruiters to engage in more meaningful interactions with people instead of manually completing mundane tasks. By becoming more efficient and effective, recruiters are making the entire process more human, thanks to AI.
AI Empowers Recruiters to Become Talent Advisors
Disruptive technologies have profound impacts on jobs — creating many new roles, making a few obsolete, and augmenting and evolving countless others.
But the proliferation of AI in HR often rekindles an archaic scare-tactic that machines are taking over recruiter jobs — and that is simply not accurate.
The report shared a similar point of view:
“In capturing AI’s benefits, an important lever for policymakers is that AI not only automates but also augments work. History is full of examples of jobs that were predicted to be doomed by automation but that instead flourished and were transformed. Example: The introduction of the first ATMs around 1970 was predicted to end the job of traditional bank tellers, but the US today instead has many more bank tellers, at many more bank branches, doing different tasks than before because ATMs are poorly suited to such as relationship banking.”
The incredible reality is that AI is intended to help — not replace — recruiters. It’s also beneficial for everyone in the talent journey — candidates, employees, and organizations — and many are already experiencing phenomenal transformations as a result of leveraging it.
For candidates, AI is helping by empowering them to find job opportunities faster and more easily. AI means that candidates no longer need to have exactly the right keywords on their resumes — or the right schools or prior employers. Instead, AI delivers the most relevant job openings, either at the moment that the candidate is browsing an employer’s career site, or at a future date when a new role becomes available. And for employees, they’re now able to get greater visibility into options for learning, development, and growth within an organization. This is the promise of inclusive AI: access to opportunity.
Reducing Bias with AI
Bias can occur in recruiting, whether it’s from humans or technology. Bias in human decision-making drove existing regulations on employment decisions. The business value of AI is in intelligent automation, which works by discovering and replicating successful patterns of data. However, bad data in means bad data out: AI may discover patterns from biased human decisions and then replicate those patterns, which can perpetuate human bias at scale. As a result, it is essential that guardrails be put in place to ensure AI is operating as it should, providing equal opportunity to all.
For some, the potential of introducing bias to the hiring process is another common argument for not using AI. But as the report states, “...Well-designed algorithms have the potential to actually reduce instances of bias, and firms have voiced a desire to use algorithms to address instances of discrimination. However, without the proper oversight and regulation, this potential for positive transformative change is unlikely to be realized.”
AI legislation is coming, and we should embrace it. Although New York City delayed its AI legislation until April 2023, the delay is not surprising, due to the confusion surrounding it. The legislation is imperfect and tweaks will be made, but it is needed.
The intention should not restrict using AI technology or hamper continued innovation — rather, it should provide guidelines for the proper use of AI in HR, ensuring all candidates have equal opportunity for the right jobs. In this way, AI widens a recruiter’s reach. Through automation, it uncovers even more candidates with related skills.
Here’s an example of how this works: Humans traditionally represent 15-20 skills, and AI can find approximately 60-100 interrelated skills for those same individuals. AI helps recruiters see the whole person and suggests roles that candidates and employees may not have even considered or thought of as being relevant.
This is integral particularly for underrepresented populations. Women in STEM is an example. Coming out of university or training, women are on par with some of the most experienced male counterparts. But a study found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications — women apply only if they meet 100% of them.
Underrepresented and diverse communities have not typically been trained on how to promote or negotiate for themselves. By uncovering related skills, recruiters are able to understand the entire person and how they might be a great fit for a role. In this way, AI can become an antidote to a widespread hiring challenge, creating a level field of opportunity by elevating new groups of candidates who otherwise might have been missed.
AI can be a powerful tool — without it, employers could miss out on individuals who might be great for an open role. Guidelines are the key to ensuring organizations are using it safely and correctly.
Developing Tomorrow’s Employees Today
As in all cases, “with great power comes great responsibility.” When it comes to AI technology for HR, continued training and education is needed. As the report states, “AI can be a useful tool for helping workers find new opportunities with the same company by matching skills with job openings. This use of AI could help soften the disruption for some workers. However, there is likely to be a need for large investments in training, either to develop the new skills required for existing jobs that are being redesigned due to AI or for new jobs where there is growing demand for workers.”
AI’s expected economic impact is both positive and profound in the U.S. and the EU. It is an exciting time to be in HR. As legislation catches up, it needs to provide usage guidelines while encouraging continued innovation.