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Businesses failing to prepare for rise of AI

Just 23% of senior HR professionals believe the UK is preparing the workforce for the rise of AI

Businesses are failing to prepare for the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, according to a survey by recruiter Alexander Mann Solutions.

The survey of 2,000 senior HR professionals found that just 23% believe that the UK is preparing the next generation of professionals for the rise of AI, despite the fact that 69% believe that it is very or somewhat likely that we will see humanoids (robots that look like humans) in the workplace by 2030.

Laurie Padua, director of technology and operations consulting at Alexander Mann Solutions, highlighted the benefits AI could bring to businesses. “According to Accenture, AI has the potential to add an estimated £654 billion to the UK economy by 2035,” she said. “However, the potential of any intelligent software is limited by the human talent responsible for commissioning, implementing and managing it.”

She added that HR needs to take control of AI strategy to make it a success. “The successful implementation of effective systems relies on strong strategy and delivery,” she said. “With this in mind, it is crucial that HR teams put in place strategic workforce plans to ensure that they not only have access to the requisite technical skills, but also focus on investing in talent with adaptable core competencies that are currently difficult to recreate in machines, such as creativity and communication skills.”

When asked what skills businesses should be developing in people to enhance the potential of AI, 36% said adaptability to change, 22% said creative skills were most important, and 18% said IT and technical skills should be prioritised.

“HR strategists must become accustomed to upskilling existing teams and planning future workforces with robots in mind – but there will be no cliff-edge of job losses as AI replaces human workers,” added Padua. “Instead the roles of real-life employees will develop so that we will work alongside robots to become more efficient and productive, and innately human traits will become more valuable than ever.”