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AI could improve worker productivity, says Hays

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could provide a boost to workforce productivity, but organisations need to build their employees’ trust in these technologies and upskill staff appropriately if they are to take full advantage of the benefits, says Hays.

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, said, “AI is already being used to complete vital tasks in workplaces across a range of industries, but it could be used to boost productivity for the workforce generally.

PwC analysis suggests that AI could contribute US$15.7trillion to the global economy by 2030, with US$6.6trillion of this figure coming from increased productivity. These gains are expected to come from the automation of processes, coupled with AI technologies augmenting their existing labour force.

There are already examples of where AI is starting to have this sort of impact. Two examples are shared in the latest Hays Journal, which explores this issue: fund managers are using AI to track media or social media stories about particular companies to glean important information that could impact share prices, while GPs are trialling an AI system that conducts an initial triage of patients to determine who requires primary care.

While some basic positions are likely to be taken over by machines, AI is also creating a need for more highly-skilled professionals.

While AI will undoubtedly make some jobs easier, it can also increase fears around career security within the workforce. Yet a 2018 study, Is automation labor displacing? Productivity growth, employment, and the labor share by David Autor and Anna Salomons, found that AI has had a positive effect on aggregate employment.

Deligiannis commented, “HR will need to support the implementation of AI and ensure it is used responsibly while alleviating the perceived threat that many workers see it posing to their livelihood.

“Part of this will involve talking about the rationale behind it, and explaining how it can help individuals perform their job, and potentially develop their career through learning new skills.”

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