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Preparing for the AI afterburners – What’s next for tech-driven disruption?

How will the artificial intelligence (AI) debate evolve over the coming months and what will related big picture, shape-shifting workplace trends mean in practice for business leaders and for HR and recruitment professionals? Any change brings opportunities, and there will be no shortage of either as we hit the shimmering highway of 2024 and prepare for the inevitable twists and turns.

Artificial Intelligence for Recruitment Briefing for Employers

Back in November, I was privileged to chair a high-energy and high-profile webinar session for BFI on the future outlook for AI adoption with Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), Caitriona Lannen O’Brien, Regional Leader at LinkedIn and Andrew King, Public Affairs Manager at the World Employment Confederation (WEC).

Discussions identified number of red-hot topics, below is a snapshot of some of the emerging themes that will set the tone for the intensifying AI debate over the coming year. These themes will also be developed at BFI's upcoming AI Risk Mitigation, Policy & Compliance for Employers Conference on the 2nd May. 

Walking the Tech v Touch tightrope

One priority for business leaders over the coming year is to find the right tech v touch balance. In practice, this means getting to grips with AI as a driver of efficiency and as a tool for strategic planning whilst enhancing ‘old school’ relationship-building and communication skills, even in this digital age! Maintaining and enhancing interpersonal skills and using these as a differentiator in a fast-changing and AI-infused hiring ecosystem was a core theme of the REC’s ‘Tech-Enabled Humanity’

Embracing the ‘skills-first’ philosophy

We can expect momentum to build around a skills-first approach to hiring, whereby practical and demonstrable skills take precedent over qualifications and past experience in terms of selection criteria. AI adoption is a major factor here as there will be an increasing need for individuals in non-technical roles in both white collar and blue collar sectors to develop the awareness and skills needed to make the most of AI adoption. LinkedIn research already shows a huge rise in AI-related skills listed in people’s online profiles. We can expect this trend to accelerate in 2024.

Revamping recruitment procedures and HR policies 

Generative AI will continue to reconfigure the recruitment landscape, including the automation of repetitive tasks, such as CV screening and interview scheduling. The spotlight will also be on how AI might impact on other areas such as performance management, D&I, compliance procedures and other internal HR policies. This will the core theme of BFI’s forthcoming ‘AI Risk Mitigation, Policy & Compliance for Employers' as a potential game-changer for D&I will be a theme of BFI’s latest inclusive recruitment webinar in March. 

Helping the next generation 

AI proliferation is exacerbating an already stressful and confusing time for young people trying to navigate a fast-changing world of work. For example, Youth Employment UK’s Youth Voice Census shows that the optimism-meter is running low, with only 12.4% of young people thinking that quality work opportunities are available where they live and nearly 50% unsure that they will ever be able to progress into a good job. Future-focused employers and recruiters can take a lead by working with schools and colleges to raise awareness of what AI adoption really means for future careers, job prospects and skills needs across different sectors, as well as offering reassurance and boosting aspirations.

Influencing the public policy agenda 

The business community mostly remains at the forefront of the AI policy debate. This includes nurturing social dialogue and positive relationships with worker organisations on AI ethics and workforce-related issues (this will be a theme of the BFI’s forthcoming Inclusive Recruitment Strategy and Practice briefing). This also feeding into regional and global level discussions on skills and potential regulatory interventions through representative bodies like the World Employment Confederation and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE). From a UK perspective, the looming general election will add further urgency to the political discourse around how AI and other technology-driven innovations can drive growth, productivity and the creation of a higher wage, higher skilled economy. 

There will be many other external factors at play in 2024 and the pace of change will shift up a few gears. Direct access to experts from across the globe and the ability to exchange views and approaches with peers will remain key outlets for business leaders and HR and recruitment professionals trekking through a tumultuous external landscape.

BFI’s extensive programme of events and workshops will be to provide valuable checkpoints along the way

Tom Hadley is the former REC Campaigns Director, now operating as an independent workforce and campaigns consultant, working with the International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as with leading employers across the world. He also delivers bespoke communication training, innovative employee engagement tools and keynote talks on the future of work.