For many years now, researchers and economists alike, have been discussing the impact technology and machines are and will have on various industries. It started with the Industrial Revolution that changed a lot of aspects about physical labour. Manufacturing companies started increasingly moving towards better machinery and equipment. Now, with the outset of AI (Artificial Intelligence), a lot of tasks that were done with mental ability have also been replaced by robots and machines.
Replacing human labour, both physical and mental, with machines has had its set of repercussions. The biggest, and most visible of these being the extinction of many job roles. In many industries, factories now need only about half of the manpower they needed. Many administrative and clerical job roles have already vanished with the inception of smart computers and the internet. With machines bringing increased efficiency and lower costs, the expiry of these roles seems inevitable. A recent World Bank research says that automation threatens 69% jobs in India and 77% in China and globally, it is predicted to take away 30% of the jobs in the banking sector.
But in the peculiar way of Newton’s Third Law, the loss of these job roles are balanced by the birth of many other job roles around the new technology. According to Deloitte’s report ‘From Brawn to Brains’, it is found that although 800,000 jobs have been lost over the last 15 years to technology, 3.5 million new, more highly skilled ones have been created.
Now, when the entire working universe seems to be shifting with technology, the HR world cannot be left far behind. A lot of changes are happening in HR and to HR roles making it unpredictable to know what the function would seem like in a couple of decades.
Many HR software in the last few years have significantly help automate earlier human-driven processes like hiring, performance management, compensation management, and learning and development. Being more accurate and time-effective, it seems a no-brainer that these tasks be permanently delegated to technology. But does that mean the human aspect of Human Resources ceases to exist? This and the inevitable balance of technology and humans needed for smooth HR operations can be illustrated well with the turn recruitments are taking.
From shortlisting of resumes, to scheduling interviews and following up with candidates, there is now technology covering most of the tasks involved in recruitment. While there may come a time where recruitment can be covered entirely by technology and doesn’t need any human involvement, there is a lot of resistance that would prevent that from happening. As Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group, recently told Inc., "If I'm going to hire you, I'm going to want to meet you," and that would be why the human contact would still be necessary.
While these recruitment software are able to make the process more accurate, efficient, and able to be trained to make logical decisions, they also remove biases of humans. And while this might be good for the most bit, it also removes the judgements that humans are able to make. For instance, a candidate with lower work experience than what is needed but has worked on some very challenging and relevant projects would be rejected by the system but may actually be a great fit for the role. As Adler tells Inc, these software are "still about weeding out the weak rather than finding the best."
So, while artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation are slowly taking over different functions in the corporate world, these are all well balanced with other kinds of skills and human-judgement being seen as more necessary. Only with time will one be able to tell the actual outcome of intelligent technology. Meanwhile, with technology, humans also need to constantly be upgrading their skills and knowledge to survive. Organisations providing corporate solutions and equipping employees with essential skills, like Skillwise, play a key role in ensuring high competency.
- Desplechin, Agnes. 2017, September 21. Robots Are Moving Into Our Human Resources Functions. http://www.digitalistmag.com/future-of-work/2017/09/21/robots-moving-into-human-resources-functions-05380377
- Roper, Jenny. 2016, January 20. Rise of the machines: What automation means for HR. http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/what-automation-means-for-hr
- Vaccaro, Adam. The Future of Recruiting and Hiring Technology. https://www.inc.com/adam-vaccaro/the-future-of-recruiting-automation.html
- Goyal, Malini. 2017, October 8. How artificial intelligence is reshaping recruitment, and what it means for the future of jobs. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/jobs/how-artificial-intelligence-is-reshaping-recruitment-and-what-it-means-for-the-future-of-jobs/articleshow/60985946.cms
- Scope of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in HR. https://www.peoplematters.in/article/techhr16/scope-of-robotics-and-artificial-intelligence-in-hr-13806?utm_source=peoplematters&utm_medium=interstitial&utm_campaign=learnings-of-the-day&utm_source=peoplematters&utm_medium=interstitial&utm_campaign=learnings-of-the-day
- 2017, April 5. How RPA Can Help Companies Rethink HR Tasks. https://www.uipath.com/blog/how-rpa-can-help-companies-rethink-hr-tasks
- Wilson, Rebecca. 2017, June 15. How AI and automation affects HR and recruiters. https://www.recruitment-international.co.uk/blog/2017/06/how-ai-and-automation-affects-hr-and-recruiters