Business optimism may be fueling recent spike in number of executives reporting increased use of automation
The number of US companies reporting an increase in their use of automation doubled in the first quarter of 2017, fueled in part by a recent spike in business confidence, according to a report released by global talent solutions firm Randstad Sourceright.
Based on a global survey of C-suite and human capital leaders, Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Trends research finds that 36 percent of US companies have increased the use of artificial intelligence and robotics over the last 12 months, up from 18 percent during the fourth quarter of 2016.
Over the same period, the number of respondents indicating that they expect significant growth in the next 12 months soared from 10 percent to 28 percent.
Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Sourceright, says: “The latest survey results are good news for the economy and American workers.
“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.”
According to survey results, 26 percent of US companies report that growth in the past 12 months surpassed expectations, notably higher than the 20 percent that reported in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The rosier outlook is spurred by an optimistic political climate, which many executives and human capital leaders feel will be favorable to US business interests. Over two-thirds of the companies surveyed say the current political climate opens up tremendous opportunities to execute their talent strategies.
Despite fears that automation will displace US workers, survey respondents overwhelmingly expect AI and robotics to have a positive impact on their businesses, with 70 percent reporting that they plan to hire extensively in the year ahead to keep pace with expected growth.
Even with the integration of AI and robotics, the latest Randstad Sourceright Talent Trends survey finds that a primary concern for US business leaders is a scarcity of skilled talent. More than a quarter of those surveyed expect that searching for skilled workers will be a major challenge for their business over the next year.
“Despite fears that robots are going to displace good jobs, human capital leaders are telling us the demand for talent is rising,” says Henderson. “Candidates need to focus on how they can further develop, adapt and present skills that are best suited to the jobs of the future.”