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A new study from Randstad Sourceright, a talent acquisition and human capital management specialist, reveals that companies are flocking to artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and robotics, but not necessarily as a means to replace workers.
The company recently ran a global survey of C-suite executives and human capital leaders to determine how AI and robotics are affecting the modern workplace. More than a third (36 percent) of U.S. companies reported that they had increased their use of those technologies in the past 12 months, up from 18 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016. Twenty-eight percent expect "significant growth" in adoption rates over the next 12 months, up from 10 percent.
Despite the perception that businesses are looking to AI-enabled and robotic systems to replace workers, Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Sourceright, argues that the technologies can be used to improve workplaces to the benefit to workers.
"The latest survey results are good news for the economy and American workers," said Henderson, in a statement. "Surging business confidence appears to be fueling both an increase in the investment companies are making in automation and additional hiring to manage expected growth. Contrary to the headlines, this survey shows that automation can provide opportunities for people and vice versa."
In fact, the talent gap doesn't appear to be narrowing as AI solutions proliferate. Seventy percent of respondents said they plan to increase their hiring in anticipation of more growth.
For job seekers, that means worrying less about AI and working on building expertise.
"Despite fears that robots are going to displace good jobs, human capital leaders are telling us the demand for talent is rising. Candidates need to focus on how they can further develop, adapt and present skills that are best suited to the jobs of the future," added Henderson.
Talent scarcity is the top concern among business leaders in the U.S., Randstad Sourceright's research found, followed by the impending wave of retiring Baby Boomers. A quarter of American businesses said these retirements will be a major pain point for their organizations and may even negatively impact their operations.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.