We are a “long way from the ‘robots will take my job’ anxiety that dominates the media’s image of AI and automation” states Katherine Henley, workforce transformation expert at PA Consulting.
Good news then? Yes, but whilst this should go some way to reassuring employees or prospective employees, given the effect new technologies are having on the workplace, we should all be alarmed about the lack of HR input or involvement. This is according to the recent “People and Machines: From Hype To Reality” report conducted by the CIPD and PA Consulting.
The report included a survey of 759 employers of which close to a third had invested in AI and automation in the last five years. Key highlights of the report are as follows:
- 44% of the employers who had introduced AI and automation believed that jobs had actually been made more secure by the introduction of new technology as opposed to 13% who thought it made their job less secure.
- Two in five employers reported pay increases for those roles most affected by AI and automation.
- However, 54% of employees surveyed felt that the new technology had not actually helped them do their job better.
- 43% of employees said that they were learning new things as a result of the implementation of the technology and as many as a third stated that they were performing more interesting tasks.
It is abundantly clear then that, even in the last five years, AI and Automation is bringing large changes to the workplace and the working habits. Curious then that only 55% of organisations involved their HR department in any AI/Automation investment decisions and only 45% opted to involve their own HR in the implementation process of such technologies. Peter Cheese, Chief Executive for the CIPD comments that “professionals should be taking the lead, orchestrating who does what work, where, when and how the technology interacts with those processes.”
“HR is the essential glue between people and machines” concludes Katherine Healey. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, to use a slightly ominous phrase, is clearly being embraced by businesses but with the right channels and human relations experts involved the positives will only be amplified.