AI is in a phase of rapid development, and there is no sector that remains untouched. With talk of the skills shortage showing no sign of abating anytime soon, it’s natural that many cynics are pointing the finger to AI and automation as one root cause. They cite the perceived ability of artificially intelligent platforms to outperform human talent as leaving us with a shortage of skilled workers equipped to deal with new tech and processes. But this isn’t necessarily the case – AI’s benefits to the workforce and the skills it helps to develop far outweigh any negative impact it may have.
Artificially intelligent platforms have started to consistently perform repetitive and administrative tasks at a higher level than humans have been able to do in the past, eliminating a number of basic errors. However, it has been noted that AI is also beginning to spread to cover areas that are commonly defined as non-routine, cognitive tasks as well.
Of course, with replacement comes concern. Some studies are predicting that up to 47 per cent of roles in the United States alone are at risk of being replaced by automated technologies, many powered by AI algorithms. Therefore, while it could help many sectors that are in short supply of talent, it could also create a shortage of roles in areas where there are typically excess talent pools. In order to counter this, the workforce must adapt and look to increase the number of roles where creativity and independent thinking occur.
From a talent acquisition viewpoint, there are many benefits that could aid the perceived skills shortage. Development of algorithmic searching is enabling us to perform increasingly targeted searches, providing a more accurate analysis of skill sets, requirements and attributes of candidates in order to get to that all-important ideal candidate faster. These smart algorithms are being used to eliminate human error and bias when mapping markets and throughout the interview process.
Removing unconscious bias in the selection process is the single biggest benefit of artificial intelligence in recruitment, which is very common, and largely unavoidable when using traditional interview methods which have not changed for decades. In turn, this will improve levels of diversity and further broaden candidate pools. Attracting a wider audience should not only improve placement rates, but in addition provide organisations with higher performing teams and a diverse set of skills.
Overall, the primary benefit of this AI is that it can process vast volumes of data, enabling recruiters to source from a larger pool of candidates within a shorter time period. We are deep in the throes of a candidate-driven market, and one of the biggest risks of losing a great hire, is the processing time. The longer you leave a candidate before you make an offer, the more time the competition has to attract that candidate. For very specific roles, or where there is a chronic shortage of skilled supply, the use of AI tools such as people analytics can – and will – accelerate the hiring process. This will ensure that employers not only attract and secure the talent they need, but also help to retain talent internally in order to remain competitive and get ahead of the curve.
James Wright is Carmichael Fisher’s resident expert on Artificial Intelligence and it’s impact on talent acquisition and recruitment. He is speaking on the topic at the 2019 WEI International Academic Conference on Business, Economics, Management and Finance at Harvard University this summer.
For a confidential conversation about how James and our Executive Search services can help your organisation attract the next generation of leaders in Aerospace, Defence and Technology, connect with him directly on LinkedIn here.