Risk consultancy and insurance intermediary Partners& publishes research* on the likely impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on employment numbers, line managers, and Human Resources (HR) departments.
A survey* of 203 employers – representing a combined workforce of nearly 200,000 employees – by risk consultancy and insurance intermediary Partners& lifts the lid on how employers are viewing the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the UK workplace.
The Partners& research provides a rather more positive outlook than some of the doomladen headlines of 2023. More than 7 in every 10 employers (73%) questioned do not expect the arrival of AI to result in large numbers of lost jobs, with only 14% expecting the new technology to result in a small (12%) or significant (2%) reduction in employee headcount.
A small number of employers (4%) expect to employ more workers as a result of the arrival of AI in the British workplace.
Steve Herbert, Wellbeing and Benefits Director at Partners&, commented:
“2023 has seen a surge of almost apocalyptic national media headlines around potential job losses as a result of the introduction of AI, yet our research reveals that the vast majority of employers are relatively sanguine about this new technology, and few believe that it will make any more than a minor difference to their overall employee numbers.”
The research did however reveal a greater impact on HR and line management roles. Whilst more than half of respondents (55%) thought that the number of such roles would remain largely unchanged, 1 in 4 employers (25%) expected either a significant (1%) or a smaller (24%) decrease in those roles focussed on people management duties.
The survey also reveals which aspect of employment and HR practices might be most altered by the introduction and use of AI systems.
More than a third (35%) believe that workforce planning – including board-level data and returns on investments (ROI) – will be improved by AI, and 1 in 4 (25%) also expect the new technology to improve the recruitment and onboarding process. Other improvements may include communications and employee engagement (18%), and talent development and training (11%).
However, the survey also highlighted concerns that AI could be detrimental to some aspects of the employment journey. Around 3 in every 10 employers (29%) questioned thought that AI might worsen performance reviews and line management, with a similar number (30%) concerned about communications and employee engagement.
“Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and it is likely that it will fundamentally change the British workplace. Yet those changes will vary significantly depending on sector, employer, and workforce demographics. Employers and their HR teams will therefore need to work hard to ensure that any negatives to their employment process are carefully considered and sympathetically dealt with to minimise potential disruption or harm to employer and employee alike.”
“We would therefore encourage employers to engage early with their workforces over any such change, and to use all the facets of their wellbeing and support offering to help smooth the transition to the new – AI-enabled – workplace world that clearly lies ahead.”
*The Research was undertaken at the Partners& Employment Webinar on 19 September 2023 amongst an audience of more than 230 senior Human Resources (HR), Finance, Payroll, and C-suite attendees representing 203 employers and a combined workforce of more than 192,000 employees. The employers represented in the survey arose from a range of Private, Public, and Third Sector employers.
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