Six out of ten European HR professionals see the emergence of Artificial Intelligence as a threat to jobs

12 December 2017

Six out of ten European HR professionals believe that the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will lead to job losses in their sector by 2025. Half, on the other hand, believe that AI could also create new jobs. In addition, European HR professionals believe that AI could increase the influence of HR over the company's business. These are the results of a survey of a thousand HR professionals in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and the UK, which was conducted by iVOX on behalf of HR service provider, SD Worx.
  • Half of European HR professionals (50.4%) think that AI will lead to more jobs
  • More than half of European HR professionals (56.6%) fear that the emergence of AI will lead to job losses within their own HR departments
  • Six out of ten, however, believe that AI will help make HR more strategic
  • Download the paper and the infographic with the results here

Businesses are investing heavily in digitalisation and are increasingly using computer-controlled processes in their various departments. They are also investing in Artificial Intelligence to an ever great extent. With AI, technology makes autonomous decisions (in some cases), so human intervention is no longer necessary. HR professionals who use AI mainly do so to screen CVs and to send messages to specific target groups automatically via social media, and for staff training and development, for example.

AI will cost jobs but will also create new ones

European HR professionals are divided over the prospects that Artificial Intelligence offers in terms of jobs in their sector by 2025. Half of all the HR professionals surveyed believe that AI will lead to more jobs in their sector, while only about one in three (32.1%) believe that this will not be the case. 59.5% also believe, however, that AI will result in job losses by 2025.

Table 1: impact of AI on job creation and losses by 2025 according to European HR professionals

Mixed feelings within own HR Department too

European HR professionals believe that the impact of AI will also be felt within their own HR departments. As far as job creation is concerned, opinions are divided. Four out of ten (40.4%) believe that jobs will be created, while roughly the same number (41.2%) believe that this will not be the case. Again, the majority of HR professionals (56.6%) believe that the emergence of AI will also lead to job losses within their own HR departments.

Table 2: impact of AI on job creation and losses by 2025 in their own HR departments according to European HR professionals

AI may, however, make HR more important

In spite of the negative impact that they believe AI will have on HR jobs, 60.2% of European HR professionals believe that AI represents an opportunity to increase the impact of the HR department on their company's business. However, more than four out of ten (43.3%) also see AI as a threat to the impact of the HR department on their company's business.

However, European HR professionals are divided over the impact of AI on the role of the HR department within their organisation. 35.0% believe that the role of HR will increase, 44.3% think that it will decrease and 20.6% think that AI will have no impact on the importance of HR within the business.

AI doesn't just impact on job creation/losses

European HR professionals are convinced that AI will affect all HR processes. According to the European HR professionals surveyed, AI will primarily impact on Time and Attendance, Recruitment and Selection, Learning and Development, and Performance Management.

Finally, European HR professionals say that they will recruit on the basis of other competencies as a result of AI. The ability to solve complex problems, focus on service, flexible thinking and people management in particular will become more important.

"It's not really surprising that HR professionals don't yet have a completely clear picture of how Artificial Intelligence will impact on HR in terms of job losses or job creation, or of how our work will change. This is consistent with previous surveys around digitalisation in general and the impact that it will have. Computers won't be replacing everyone in the workplace any time soon, and the human factor will still be hugely important in HR. Clearly, however, AI has huge potential in terms of enabling HR managers to work more strategically than ever before. We are already seeing this amongst our clients, who are defining or reviewing their HR policies on the basis of predictive analytics,” says Jan Laurijssen, managing consultant at SD Worx.