PA Consulting's latest survey shows intelligent automation can help create a better job market. But HR and IT must learn to work together.
Intelligent automation is a term used to describe the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and workplace automation. It’s created a lot of discussion, not least around the fear that robots will take over our jobs. But our recent survey of UK organisations, which examines the effect of artificial intelligence and automation in the workplace, shows that the technology creates more jobs that it replaces.
At the same time, the introduction of digital tools makes people’s tasks more exciting, while they see their contribution to the business as greater.
Together with the UK’s Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), we surveyed 750 organisations across industries. The resulting report looks at how investments in intelligent automation are taken, which jobs are impacted and how staff experience the implementation.
We found that the technology has a positive impact on the workplace, the working culture and how we work. Sixty per cent of employees find that they do fewer tedious tasks after implementation, and 41 per cent report that they have gained more control over their working hours. At the same time, 35 per cent of organisations found they created more jobs, versus 25 per cent that removed jobs.
This is good news. But we found the benefits are limited as only 55 per cent of organisations consult HR when investing in this type of technology. And only 45 per cent of HR departments were involved in the implementation. This is worrying when we know intelligent automation can improve the everyday lives of employees.
HR and IT must get better at working together to plan and implement this type of technology in a way that puts people at the centre. HR should take a greater role in IT developments and collaborate with IT teams to identify requirements for future capabilities. At the same time, the IT department must consider that, to succeed with artificial intelligence and automation, they must think as much of the people as the technology.