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HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
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Ben Chew

Impact of AI on talent acquisition and recruitment in the future

BY BEN CHEW

As we embark on a New Year perhaps looking for a better job opportunity, or a more fulfilling dream career, here are some recruitment trend shifts you need to be aware of. Artificial Intelligence (AI) penetration has impacted almost all industries, and recruitment space is the least spared of it all.

Influence of AI on talent acquisition and business decision-making goes beyond finding the right talent with skills and experience, to meet the organisational fit. AI tools and technologies have empowered recruitment and talent acquisition efforts by culling through data and gathering insights about a potential candidate for senior management roles.

Impact of AI on jobs in Asia in the future
According to a research paper by MIT Technology Review1 focussing on the Asia Pacific penetration of AI and its impact on the future, 70% of HR executives feel that AI and adoption of robotics will result in significant job losses in Asia over the next five years. However HR managers and talent acquisition professionals feel that their roles will evolve into broader, and more strategic, “productivity management” roles. The business landscape in Asia is not only poised to embrace AI but the future will be defined by it.

Singapore and Hong Kong are competing to become leading financial technology hubs, seeding investment of AI tools in financial service applications. Most executives positively think use of AI will prove to be business value addition.

“Asian governments are particularly suspicious of the threat AI poses to their efforts to transform skills in the labour force. Governments should be more focussed on ways to retrain displaced workers rather than defending existing jobs from disintermediation,” says Tak Lo, a partner at Hong Kong–based AI accelerator Zeroth.AI. “The pace of work displacement in Asia will be at a much faster rate, because of the relatively higher percentage of low-skilled jobs in the labour force relative to more developed economies.”

Whilst most professionals believe that their job roles will be altered as a result of AI and robots taking over lower-skilled jobs, Baidu IDL director Lin Yuanqing believes, “Even the best robotic financial analyst is only going to prepare a report at 70% of the capability and insight of its human counterpart.” AI and robotics will only complement for the better and jobs will not be replaced.

Rise in AI would only create a seismic shift in processes that senior managers use, to grow talent and increase productivity across every industry sector. Whilst the outlook on implications and penetration of AI at the workplace is bleak for most Asian workers, who thrive in economies threatened by automation, there is a crucial need to develop skills and build careers.

Recruitment in the AI Era
With global talent war at its peak, organisations are now looking at harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, to use search optimisation tools, data analytics, and talent mapping to reach out to the right talent for crucial job roles. Technology has been revolutionising the way recruitment works with the entire process being now automated with ATS and other talent management softwares. This saves time and costs involved with recruiting for HR managers, whilst allowing them to do away with third-party service providers for talent sourcing such as employment bureaus and traditional recruitment agencies.

With modern talent acquisition technology empowered by AI, the time taken for recruitment is halved and search narrowed to reach out to only the best talent that matches job requirements. There is no need for human intervention and manual personality matching to choose the best candidates for suitable job roles.

“Automated HR tools have built-in capabilities to think faster; that leaves HR to focus on more meaningful things like getting the candidates onboarded,” says Glenn Dittrich, Director Smarter Workforce, IBM Asia Pacific2. With recruiting teams struggling to recruit candidates, sourcing continues to remain a number one challenge. Use of AI in recruitment helps find passive candidates that meet your exact job requirements, whilst streamlining the process and saving you hours instead.

AI tools have been extensively used to automate the resume screening process as well, by providing recommendations to learn about an existing employee experience, skills, and experience to get cumulative insights before arriving at a hiring decision.

Automation of repetitive tasks such as screening through candidates allows recruiters to save on time, whilst realigning their priorities to engage with those candidates who are the perfect fit. Matching the best talent with the right job roles is an even bigger challenge than sourcing them. Most recruiters will agree with the fact that identifying the right candidates from a large talent pool is one of the hardest parts of their job.

AI for candidate matching uses algorithm to identify the best matches for suitable job roles. Multiple algorithms analyse multiple sources of data to include skills, salary preferences, personality traits, qualification, experiences as against the job requirements and organisational culture. AI in recruitment will free up recruiters’ time, to allow them to engage with candidates and fuel proactive hiring initiatives for future business growth.

In an exclusive interview with HR in Asia, James Galvin, founder of TalentDash says, “In today’s new world of recruitment, it is no longer enough to simply post job ads and wait for talent to come along.”

“Talent mapping, with the help of big data, is definitely the next step in recruitment technology. With talent mapping, recruiters can determine their candidate needs well in advance and develop a strategic plan for hiring long-term. This includes filling any skill gaps, bolstering the team for sudden changes in the workplace, or just simply having suitable talent in mind for the future. All of these, when prepared ahead of time, can save companies the trouble and time in future,” Galvin added.

Recruiters who are able to understand how AI works, harness the technology to save on time and costs will be rewarded with improved quality of hires, enhanced efficiency, more productive workforce and less turnover.

Industries likely to be impacted by AI in the future
As companies prepare for the next wave of digital and penetration of AI, Weber Shandwick in association with KRC Research conducted a study, Al-Ready or Not: Artificial Intelligence Here We Come!, which found that nearly seven in ten CMOs report their company is doing or planning for business in the Al era, and 55% of CMOs expect Al to have a greater impact on marketing and communications than social media ever had.

Artificial Intelligence Market Forecasts3 by Tractica4 suggests that revenue will reach US$36.8b by 2025, with almost every industry seeing an impact from AI. Tasks like customer acquisition and planning, job candidate finders, predictive sales and marketing, travel concierge and booking services, and chatbot-based e-commerce and sales will be impacted by AI tools.

On the consumer front, elderly care robots, family robots, and cleaning robots will impact household and care jobs. As AI penetrates deeper into the healthcare industry, doctors will see their roles being augmented with AI working on improved diagnosis and recommendation, treatment planning for patients.

“The advent of driverless taxis, autonomous trucks, and delivery drones will represent a major impact on professional drivers, and is possibly the most visible and politically charged disruption that will occur in the coming years and decade. Stock traders and insurance claims processing jobs are also at high risk, and so are warehouse workers with an increasing number of logistics tasks being automated.”

Journalism and legal jobs in the future will be impacted by algorithmic news stories and contract analysis. AI will help IT coding professionals with error checking and able to automatically write the code.

Businesses will become leaner in the future, requiring fewer people at lower and middle management levels with the business services domain into sales, marketing, and human resources become automated. Overall, the impact of AI will not be felt by blue-collar jobs alone, even the white-collar workforce will be impacted. This is an issue to which policy makers and the governments should pay close attention, to be better prepared for the next wave of technology, “The AI Revolution”, expected to disrupt the world of work and workplaces in the future.

References:
1) Research Paper by MIT Technology Review: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602995/asias-ai-agenda-executive-summ...
2) Glenn Dittrich, Director Smarter Workforce, IBM Asia Pacific: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/specials/when-machines-do-the-recrui...
3) Artificial Intelligence Market Forecasts: https://www.tractica.com/research/artificial-intelligence-market-forecasts/
4) https://www.tractica.com/artificial-intelligence/how-will-artificial-intelligence-impact-jobs/

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Ben Chew

Ben Chew

Ben Chew is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the HR/Recruitment space. He currently has several HR tech projects, including a successful boutique recruitment business – TBC HR Consulting which is based in Singapore. He is also the Managing Director of Strategia Ventures. Ben is also involved in many community initiatives in the local startup ecosystem, including Startup Jobs Asia.

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