Rob Preston, editorial director in Oracle’s Content Central organization, wrote an article in Forbes about what speakers and attendees at Oracle’s Modern Business Experience conference had to say about the future of the workforce. The workforce of the future will be defined by more automation through AI, a diverse mix of full-time and contract workers, and rapidly shifting demographics. The most successful employers in that future workforce will be the ones whose leadership teams get ahead of these trends.
Opinions about whether automation will be a net job creator or destroyer have varied. However, we know for sure that automation will become more intelligent in widespread during the near future as a result of artificial intelligence.
Survey Results on AI
Mike DiClaudio, KPMG Principal, spoke at Modern Business Experience about his firm’s recent global survey of over 1,200 HR executives. In the survey, 60 percent of the HR executives said that they think AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates. On the other hand, KPMG surveyed CEOs, and 62 percent said that they think AI will create more jobs than it eliminates.
Additional research done by the Pew Research Center surveyed 9,670 consumers in nine countries on the same subject of AI. Results showed that large majorities in each country think that robots and computers doing the bulk of current human work within the 50 years will either “definitely or probably happen.” Fewer than half of respondents said that they think AI will lead to new, better-paying jobs. This opposes the thinking of most CEOs and economists.
Other key findings from KPMG’s HR study include:
- Only 40 percent of HR leaders reported having a digital transformation plan in place at their organization.
- A reported 70 percent of HR leaders recognized the need to transform their workforce, but only 37 percent reported being “very confident” in HR’s ability to do so.
- The biggest barriers were reported as skill deficiencies (51 percent) and lack of resources (43 percent).
- Roughly 42 percent of HR leaders agree that preparing the workforce for the future of AI will become one of HR’s biggest challenges over the next five years.
Sources of Labor + Workforce Disruption
Many CEOs turn to automation to deploy scare human resources to higher-level work, not to cut company labor costs. This shrinking labor pool in most developed countries drives CEOs to look to automation for a solution.
“It’s not a case of man versus machine; it’s about how man and machine can work together.”
—John Boudreau, co-author of Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work
Other companies may choose to farm out whatever percentage of a job that they can’t automate to contractors. John Boudreau, co-author of Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work, explained that employment is no longer binary—consisting of only direct employers and employees.
In the workforce of the future, there will be a mix of full-time employees and trust third parties like outsourcers/contractors, people “borrowed” from suppliers and partners, people sourced on developer and specialized talent platforms, volunteers, and AI-powered systems. It is up to senior executives to lead this entire employment ecosystem.
Many speakers at the Oracle Modern Business Experience conference advised employers to manage their contract and other outside workers from their people-oriented HCM systems instead of transaction-oriented procurement systems. This enables organizations to treat these workers as “part of the family,” so to speak, instead of just fill-ins. There are features within Oracle HCM Cloud that enable HR recruiters to filter internal and external candidates by person, job, skill, etc. so they can continue to craft an optimal workforce within their organization.
Mike DiClaudio, KPMG Principal, also cautioned company leaders to worry about more than potential digital business disruptors. There are several factors that are contributing to workforce disruption, including an aging workforce and a shrinking talent pool. People are retiring later in life, and soon employers will have generations that are separated by decades working side by side.
The HR leaders surveyed by KPMG reported that senior management continues to undervalue the need to cultivate the “employee experience” and meet the needs of all generations in the workforce. Younger employees, in particular, are drawn to companies because of the culture and personalized work experience. They care less about whether a company is a leader in their industry and more about how the organization takes care of its employees. Analytics can show CHROs more about there workers and what they consider to be the optimal employee experience.
Of the HR leaders surveyed, 50 percent said that they strongly believe that a vibrant employee experience is valuable to organizations. Additionally, 37 percent placed it among HR’s top three priorities, yet only 25 percent said that it is a top corporate initiative within the next year or two.
CEOs from KPMG’s research admitted to struggling with understanding how Millennials differ from other generations, which could play a big part in why they don’t know how to cater the employee experience toward them. Roughly half of the respondents reported one of their biggest challenges to be appointing senior leaders who can better relate to millennials.
To learn more about AI is changing today’s workforce and the expectations of employees, check out the Forbes article and additional Quest resources attached below.