How will Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation impact on the jobs market? Are the headlines about mass job losses on the money? And what does this all this mean for the recruitment industry?
The REC’s chief executive Kevin Green recently gave evidence on these hot topics to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Artificial Intelligence, using key findings from our Future of Jobs Commission and the insight garnered through our ongoing Good Recruitment Campaign.
AI and the jobs market
PwC have estimated that up to 30 per cent of UK jobs could potentially be at high risk of automation by the early 2030s. As we continue to automate cognitive and manual tasks and machine learning is close to overtaking our ability to ingest, process and pass on data, significant numbers of jobs will be lost, but other jobs will be created. There is much talk of a ‘fourth industrial revolution’, but our jobs market has always evolved and transformed. The big difference now is the speed of change.
OECD data shows that over the last 20 years it has been jobs in the middle of the jobs market that have been destroyed, while lower and higher skilled jobs have seen growth. Automation is likely to accelerate this polarisation, which could result in greater inequality, and fewer progression opportunities. Policy makers must work closely with the recruitment sector and the wider business community to pre-empt these changes, and help individuals navigate the changing employment landscape.
AI and recruitment
The focus is increasingly falling on the ‘quality’ of work, and the need to boost inclusive recruitment practices and progression opportunities for all. These aspirations were key elements of our Future of jobs report and are at the heart of Matthew Taylor’s ‘Good Work’ agenda.
Will the impact of AI on recruitment procedures be a force for good in these areas? This will depend on how employers use AI – for example, they need to avoid bias in the actual algorithms. There will continue to be a crucial role for recruitment professionals.
Increasing life expectancy is changing the way people think about work. To facilitate people retraining and adapting throughout their working life, we need an all-age work advice service, which harnesses the contribution of employers and recruitment experts. Helping older workers make transitions and reintegrate into the jobs market is a key element of the REC’s work on inclusion.
At the other end of the spectrum, our education system must prepare future generations for the changing world of work with continued emphasis on creativity, team work, collaboration, and self-driven learning.
To facilitate future progression opportunities for all, the government should ensure that the Apprenticeship Levy should be broadened into a training levy that can meet the training needs of workers in non-permanent roles.
Download the REC Future of jobs report and keep up to date with our activities at #FutureOfJobs. Watch the out-going REC chief executive Kevin Green give his personal insights about the future of the jobs market in a recent TEDx Talk.