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HR leaders are embracing AI to address talent scarcity

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read
Hr Leaders Are Embracing Ai To Address Talent Scarcity

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow in the workplace, HR leaders are beginning to utilise its unique abilities to enhance all aspects of their talent management.

According to the Randstad Enterprise Talent report, the majority of talent leaders (86 per cent) agree that AI, in conjunction with big data, is enhancing all aspects of talent management. This has led to three in five (61 per cent) planning to expand budgets for AI, machine learning and automation, displaying the urgency to integrate new technology with their business outcomes.

AI is paving a new way towards productivity across a wide range of aspects. This is especially so in talent management, as 86 per cent agreed that it directly enhances talent attraction, engagement, and retention.


When it comes to use cases, the vast majority of businesses are adopting AI tools to help find gaps within the workforce and identify opportunities for talent mobility (86 per cent and 88 per cent). One in three (35 per cent) is also deploying AI to identify high-potential employees for promotion and even leadership opportunities, which could have previously been a strenuous task.

In terms of the tools that HR leaders are pursuing to develop, AI search and match is at the top of the list, with almost three-quarters (73 per cent) having invested in this form of technology. A similar number are also developing chatbots or text screening (71 per cent), which have become popular tools across industries.

Although all industries and businesses are getting caught up in this AI avalanche, there are still a number of concerns from employees and leaders over the speed at which organisations are fast-tracking the implementation of a technology that a number of people lack expertise in.

While three in five of HR leaders are planning that increase in budget, seven in 10 (69 per cent) are concerned that digital transformation is moving at such a rapid pace that they cannot keep up. This comes at a time when the large majority (82 per cent) are reporting an increasing skills gap, and three-quarters (76 per cent) are being asked to do more with less.

HR Leader spoke to Dr Rebecca Hinds, head of the Work Innovation Lab, on the speed at which AI is developing in the workplace and how leaders and employees can navigate it.

“A big key is learning and development and understanding how you work with AI. We’ve done a couple of experiments where we’ve tested what happens when workers are asked to use AI for every possible task, and what I love about those experiments is they consistently show that it’s not just an understanding of what AI can do but also what AI can’t do,” Hinds said.

“That’s critical to getting the adoption and having employees understand where it can enhance their capabilities and where their uniquely human capacities still reign strong.”

Another concern that is raising eyebrows is over-reliance on such tools. Close to 40 per cent of HR leaders fear that themselves and their employees may become too reliant on AI, excluding the human factor that makes the whole integration tick.

Unconscious bias also remains a key consideration, with one in five (20 per cent) reporting they are concerned about the risks of AI amplifying bias or being used irresponsibly, unfairly, or unethically.

David Owens, founder and managing director of HR Partners by Randstad, commented: “Our research shows we are firmly in an age when artificial and human intelligence can together achieve an optimised workforce unlike any before it.”

“While HR leaders must continue to urgently adopt innovative strategies to ensure agility in a rapidly transforming global employment market – particularly as the skills gap continues to widen – the question is how can they do it feasibly and ethically. Retaining the human element within the human resources will be a key step to maximising the potential of these technologies.”

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.