July 27, 2018
Fears that Artificial Intelligence will destroy the job market are not shared by more than half (51 percent) of UK CIOs who see AI as a job creator. This is more than three times the number who say that it will diminish workers’ job prospects (16 percent). For the survey UK CIOs were asked, ‘Artificial intelligence is changing the way that companies operate and people work. Do you think AI will have a positive or negative impact on job creation and recruitment?’ Their largely positive response closely reflects that of a recent PWC report which predicts AI could create as many jobs as it displaces in the UK over the next 20 years. This latest study, commissioned by Robert Half, found that nearly two thirds (64 percent) of respondents believe AI will be a positive for productivity and only 2 percent of respondents think AI will have a very negative impact on productivity. However a greater concern was that finding technically-skilled workers could be a barrier to AI success, with the solution being to increase the use of flexible and gig wokers.
On the impact of AI the responses were:
|Very positive impact||14 percent|
|Positive impact||37 percent|
|Neither positive nor negative impact||31 percent|
|Negative impact||14 percent|
|Very negative impact||2 percent|
|I don’t know||2 percent|
The research also found that nearly two thirds (64 percent) think that AI will have a “positive” (42 percent) or “very positive” (22 percent) effect on employee productivity. The findings are contrary to the claims that AI will inevitably lead to job losses, and more closely tally with PwC’s analysis that automation technologies (including AI) will replace just 1 percent of current jobs.
“AI will transform businesses and enable them to enter new markets, diversify their operations, improve their ability to address their customers’ needs and improve their competitive advantage,” said Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half. “AI’s potential to also transform the way we work can’t be overshadowed. In fact, a quarter of CIOs in the UK are already considering the expectations of their future IT departments; both the staffing and the infrastructure requirements that will accompany this”.
As CIOs consider their talent pipeline and future workforce, one major concern that they will need to overcome is the acute talent shortage facing both the UK and the international business community. Robert Half’s research found that four in five CIOs believe that it is more challenging to attract and secure qualified professionals than it was five years ago.
“The UK is not alone in its struggle for highly skilled IT professionals. We are in a worldwide talent shortage – which is particularly acute in technology — and risks delaying the benefits that AI and other technologies can offer. One way businesses can work around this is by working with their current IT talent pipeline and offering opportunities for upskilling and additional training and development.
“Another option would be the implementation of flexible recruitment strategies – leveraging a combination of permanent and contract workers to access the skills and experience they need to meet market demands.” he concluded.