more employers see HR benefits of technology, but fear automation is happening too fast

September 26, 2017

Randstad Sourceright survey finds newly automated industries feel the most overwhelmed by pace of technological change

ATLANTA – September 26, 2017 – The number of employers reporting that automation benefits their hiring efforts jumped six percent in the past year. But, in five key industry sectors, a growing number of employers worry that digital transformation is moving too fast, according to Talent Trends Quarterly, which reports findings from an international survey of C-suite and human capital leaders by global talent solutions firm Randstad Sourceright.

Globally, 67 percent of the executives surveyed agreed that increasing automation will shift their talent needs to highly skilled roles. In the U.S., more than 72 percent said automation will shift their talent needs to more high skilled roles.

Across industry sectors, however, more than 71 percent of respondents agreed that “technology helps them make smarter hiring decisions” and reduces risks in talent acquisition. In sectors that have automated more recently, like IT & Technology and Life Sciences & Healthcare, moreover, survey respondents were more likely to feel that they are not keeping up with rapid technological changes.

“Our Talent Trends research discovered a kind of automation angst within the sectors that have adopted innovations in robotics or artificial intelligence most recently, versus those sectors with a longer history of integrating technology,” said Randstad Sourceright CEO Rebecca Henderson. “The transition to a more automated workplace puts added pressure on employers to find high-skilled talent, and to look for candidates in talent pools that may be unfamiliar to them or may not have even existed 10 years ago.”

 

Employers in the Automotive & Manufacturing industries, which automated earlier than other sectors, had the lowest percentage of respondents (47%) that felt digital transformation is moving too fast. These industries also had the smallest increase (7%) in the number of respondents reporting that they felt their company is not keeping up with technological shifts.

In contrast, in the IT & Technology sector, where technological change has been more recent and rapid, 61 percent of respondents said digital transformation is moving too fast, an increase of 39 percent since 2016, and one of the largest jumps of all sectors.

“Technological change can be overwhelming, but employers should not be relying on technology alone,” Henderson noted. “Human intelligence is not only required to make technology work, it is essential to turn data into meaningful business insights.”

Despite being the sectors that felt most overwhelmed by technological transformation, Randstad Sourceright’s survey data revealed that IT & Technology and Life Sciences & Healthcare were also the sectors most likely to feel optimistic about the future of workplace automation. For example, while the IT & Technology sector had the highest percentage of respondents that felt digital transformation is moving too fast (61%), it also was the sector reporting the largest jump in the number of respondents that felt that AI and robotics will have a positive impact on their workplaces in the near future.

Randstad Sourceright’s findings also revealed a growth in positive sentiment about the recruitment benefits of technology, particularly within industries with advanced experience designing and working with automated machines. The Consumer Goods and Automotive & Manufacturing sectors, for example, reported both the highest percentage of respondents that feel technology helps them make smarter hiring decisions (76% and 75%, respectively), as well as the largest jump (10%) in the number of respondents that felt that way since Randstad Sourceright’s last survey in 2016.

“Adopting workplace technology requires more highly skilled talent, which is already in greater demand,” Henderson added. “But it also helps companies attract, engage and retain the workers needed to meet that demand. For example, digitalization of the recruitment process and innovative workforce analytics are helping employers more easily identify and engage candidates they may never have found or considered without these technologies.”

More findings from the survey are available at Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Trends Quarterly digital hub.

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