Recap of The Future of Work and AI Conference

How will AI change the work environment? Experts from Canada and Germany discussed this question at the Future of Work & AI Conference held by the Transatlantic Dialogue Initiative on September 18, 2019, in Toronto, Canada. Entrepreneurs, talent acquisition professionals, researchers, professors, and officers of AI-based companies came to listen and join the conversation on how AI will affect recruiting, employee retention, and the economy in the future.

Recruiting with AI

For talent acquisition professionals, improving their capacity to understand data is key to providing sound recommendations. Of course, the fundamental quality of being people-centric with empathy and relationship building skills would still be the core requirements of the profession. A highly skilled and high touch recruiter is becoming less of a luxury and more of an expectation.

As AI automates menial tasks like sourcing, scheduling, and resume screening, talent acquisition professionals and recruiters will be free to focus on improving the candidate experience. They will have more time to nurture candidates and provide amazing, personalized experiences.

Freeing up recruiters’ time for more impact work sounds exciting and progressive. But it’s important to recognize that we have a lot of work to do in minimizing bias in machine learning models. For example, we’ve seen companies unintentionally screen out women, people of color, and people with disabilities from internal job posts by applying historical data that favors white males.

We may never eliminate hiring bias, but we can do our best to minimize it through mandatory unconscious bias training and the cultivation of labeled data sets.

Employee retention

Another panel focused on retaining and developing existing talent by using AI to address common reasons people leave companies, such as inadequate compensation and lack of career growth.

Increased corporate transparency is making compensation data more widely available. This data can augment discussions on equitable compensation.

For career growth, innovative companies promote internal mobility by leveraging data that provides actionable insights. Companies like PaddleHR use existing employee data to help people find new roles that may or may not be on traditional tracks within their own companies.

AI will also be able to help companies retain employees by helping human resources professionals better understand and support employees. Available data can already predict job satisfaction. AI can help companies in retaining employees and provide insights into employee’s knowledge, skills, and personality traits.

AI and the economy

We’re using technology and data in new ways as we go through what some call the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We expect a wide range of workforce adjustments. According to the Future Skills Center by the Diversity Institute of Ryerson University, AI will:

  • Enhance 75% of jobs

  • Eliminate 42% of jobs

  • Automate 12% of jobs

  • Create 13% more jobs

(You may notice this adds up to more than 100%; some of these categories overlap. For example, as we discussed earlier, AI may enhance recruiters’ jobs through automation of more menial tasks.)

We must recognize the socioeconomic impact of AI on the future workforce. For instance, AI will eliminate many of the jobs traditionally held by people with little to no post-secondary education. We need to build better profiles of people in this group, so we can support them with appropriate training opportunities. With proper training, people can positively contribute to the workforce. At the same time, companies need to rethink traditional recruiting strategies and create new strategies for diversity and inclusiveness.

Answers… and more questions

Much of the intellectual conversation at the conference left me with more questions than answers. Companies should already be removing barriers to employment for specific groups and creating inclusive workplace cultures. As AI changes the workforce, preparing and up-skilling workers are key social responsibilities for which we must start planning today.

At Produvia, we help companies implement artificial intelligence technologies. Interested in exploring these or similar AI use cases for talent acquisition or employee retention? Book a *discovery call with the Produvia team.*