YOUR REGION: United States

Category: Employers

Employees need to upskill to keep ahead of the AI revolution

As the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) talent soars, five of the fastest-growing AI roles to watch out for have been revealed.

AI is prevalent in almost every aspect of day-to-day life and there is a growing demand for skilled professionals who can harness its potential. Various jobs are maximising AI adoption in 2023 – from Data Science roles to Machine Learning Engineers.

The AI revolution has reshaped industries and changed how businesses operate. In response, FDM Group, a global talent solutions provider, has named five roles and industries that are significantly harnessing AI potential in 2023:

AI /ML (Machine Learning) Engineers play a vital role in designing and deploying AI and machine learning systems. As an AI/ML Engineer, key responsibilities include developing machine learning models, preprocessing data, and optimising algorithms to solve complex business problems. Proficiency in programming languages, like Python, as well as a strong grasp of statistics, mathematics, and problem-solving skills, are vital.

Data Scientists are skilled professionals who unlock valuable insights from vast amounts of data using cutting-edge technologies like AI. As businesses collect and store enormous datasets, Data Scientists extract meaningful patterns, trends, and predictions that drive informed decision-making – enhanced through AI-powered data analytics.

AI Product Managers play a crucial role in developing and implementing AI-powered products. They act as the bridge between technical teams and business stakeholders, translating complex AI capabilities into actionable product strategies. They possess a deep understanding of AI technologies, market trends, and customer needs, allowing them to identify opportunities where AI can create value.

 NLP (Natural Language Processing) Specialists play a pivotal role in language-based data by transforming unstructured text into valuable and actionable insights. In today’s data-driven world, vast amounts of textual data are generated daily, from customer reviews and social media interactions to documents and emails. NLP specialists have the expertise to design and implement algorithms and models that can comprehend, interpret, and extract meaningful information from unstructured data. NLP specialists contribute to cutting-edge applications like chatbots and virtual assistants, enhancing customer experiences and automating various language-based tasks.

Computer Vision Engineers are gaining importance across diverse industries, revamping fields like autonomous vehicles and medical imaging. For instance, in autonomous vehicles, Computer Vision Engineers develop algorithms that enable vehicles to perceive their surroundings, interpret road conditions, and make real-time decisions, ensuring safer and more efficient transportation.

Sarah Wyer, Data Architect specialising in Analytics, Automation and AI at FDM Groupsaid: “AI is advancing quicker than anyone could have anticipated, and the floodgates have opened to pave the way for various new roles and in-demand skills. As a result, the demand for AI talent has skyrocketed, indicating the industry’s insatiable appetite for skilled professionals in the field. AI is poised to transform most workforces by augmenting and supporting human capabilities, and while some businesses are looking to upskill their existing employees, others are looking to hire new talent.”

Share this article on social media

Rising concerns over misclassification risk drive industry growth

According to a report from SIA, the global expenditure on employer-of-record services is estimated to fall within the range of $25 billion to $35 billion. This growth is primarily being propelled by a progressively intricate legislative environment, which has raised concerns about the risk of misclassification. Additionally, there has been an upsurge in the utilization of talent platforms for the direct sourcing and management of workers, among various other factors outlined in the report.

The report acknowledged that due to insufficient data, a more precise assessment of the industry’s growth couldn’t be provided. The study examined data from 11 employer-of-record firms for its analysis, while pointing out the existence of over 100 such providers worldwide.

In line with the report’s findings, an employer of record is an entity that takes on the role of the employer for a worker who has been recruited and hired by another party for administrative purposes only. This arrangement allows the worker to carry out their tasks under the supervision and control of the hiring party. The benefit of this setup is that companies can legally involve workers in new geographical locations without the need to establish a legal entity or running afoul of local regulations.

The suite of services provided by EOR firms encompasses various functions such as onboarding, offering benefits, managing payroll, overseeing time and expenses, as well as handling other administrative tasks.

For those affiliated with SIA as corporate members, the complete 66-page “Employer of Record and IC Evaluation and Compliance Landscape Summary” report is accessible.

Share this article on social media

Air traffic control failure sparks travel chaos

The aftermath of the recent bank holiday (28 August) has resulted in a significant upheaval in air travel, with numerous passengers finding themselves stranded and several employees unable to reach their workplaces.

An extensive breakdown in air traffic control systems is believed to be responsible for the widespread problem, leading to the cancellation of over 1,200 flights.

The consequences have been substantial, leaving thousands of travellers marooned due to flight cancellations. The disruption has rippled across the travel plans of more than 200,000 individuals, causing substantial delays and cancellations.

Travellers have been cautioned to brace themselves for ongoing disturbances throughout the week. HR leaders have a range of options at their disposal to aid affected employees in these circumstances.

ConnectWise’s Chief People Officer, Jen Locklear, offered guidance, suggesting a considerate approach. In an interview she emphasised that days of work missed because of being stranded shouldn’t impact an employee’s annual leave. The foremost approach is to support them wholeheartedly and express gratitude for their dedication to the company.

Locklear advised HR to proactively assist stranded employees, acknowledging the likely stress they are experiencing. She recommended, “Begin by assigning a designated point of contact within the organisation who will concentrate on exploring alternative transportation options for the employee. This, at the very least, will help the individual feel supported.”

She further added, “Secondly, ensure that essential needs are met: confirm the employee’s access to food, accommodation, and personal belongings (or the means to obtain necessities in case belongings are inaccessible). If the stranded employee has dependents at home, extend assistance such as delivering food or arranging pet care and maintain communication with their family. This gesture will foster loyalty and contribute to a positive employment reputation and experience.”

Kate Palmer, HR Consultancy Director at Peninsula, a HR service provider, emphasised the employees’ responsibility to communicate with their employers if they cannot return to work as planned. Palmer noted, “In today’s world, nearly everyone possesses a mobile phone, minimising the possibility of an employee being unable to promptly reach out to their employer. Failure to establish communication could initially be treated as unauthorised absence, until the reasons for their absence are clarified.”

Addressing payment during such absences, Palmer clarified that employers are not obligated to maintain regular payment unless the employee uses their annual leave. She suggested, “The absence is likely to be brief, lasting a day or two. It’s advisable to find common ground regarding categorising the absence; an option could be agreeing on additional annual leave.”

“In instances where no other arrangement can be reached, unpaid leave is a viable consideration. Unless the employment contract specifies otherwise, there is no legal obligation to provide payment to employees absent due to these circumstances,” she added.

Share this article on social media

Survey reveals strong inclination towards human-led approach

In a recent study conducted by Wiley Workplace Intelligence involving 3,000 participants across North America, findings indicate a strong inclination towards human-led learning and development (L&D) rather than AI-driven approaches. The survey highlights that 59% of respondents express a preference for an instructor—whether physically present or virtually—to guide their workforce development training, while merely seven percent favour AI.

Of those surveyed, a significant majority (87%) emphasize the importance of having subject matter experts curate L&D content rather than relying on AI (12%). Dr. Mark Scullard, Senior Director of Product Innovation at Wiley, underscores this preference, stating, “When it comes to learning and development, employees crave a human connection. They want a person to create and lead their instruction, even if it’s in an online setting.”

These revelations emerge at a time when L&D professionals are increasingly open to integrating AI into their practices. The survey reflects that 64% of respondents believe that AI could enhance efficiency by handling administrative tasks. AI’s potential as an automation tool is seen as a means for L&D professionals to redirect their efforts towards more value-added pursuits, such as curriculum design, instructional design, and learner support.

While the respondents from Wiley’s survey express reluctance towards AI-directed workforce development training, they do not discount the possibility of L&D practitioners enhancing their methodologies. This stance comes amidst the broader adoption of AI in various workplace functions. Approximately one-third of workplaces have actively integrated AI into their operations, with 29% incorporating it into at least one business facet.

Key Insights:

  • AI finds the highest adoption rate in service operations across various business functions.
  • Human resources and development show a seven percent AI adoption rate.
  • Additional areas where AI is utilised include marketing and sales (15%), product or service departments (15%), supply chain management (9%), manufacturing (8%), strategy and corporate finance (7%), and risk assessment (6%).
  • Despite its increasing popularity, 36% of respondents indicate that their organizations have yet to embrace AI.
  • Major barriers to AI implementation include budget constraints, integration uncertainty, a lack of strategic priority, time limitations, and insufficient buy-in.
Share this article on social media

Equity and benefits for all

Since the onset of the pandemic, the landscape of working life for office employees has undergone a transformation. Many have embraced a newfound flexibility, empowered to carry out their tasks remotely and tailor their schedules to accommodate personal obligations. This shift has brought about various advantages.

However, as 75% of the UK workforce operates beyond the confines of traditional office spaces, it raises the question of whether the other segment of the workforce has been neglected in endeavours to enhance the employee journey. Recent research reveals that a significant 67% of businesses recognize the criticality of flexibility in their quest to secure the most coveted skills in the job market.

Moreover, a substantial 65% acknowledge the necessity of engaging in the “flexibility game” to attract suitable talents. Nonetheless, for individuals engaged in non-office-oriented roles, duplicating these adjustments may not always be feasible. Factors like the requirement to be physically present during designated hours can hinder the same degree of flexibility enjoyed by their office counterparts.

The dynamics of flexibility are more intricate in non-office settings. Industries such as manufacturing and retail face distinct challenges, as implementing the same flexible arrangements that office employees enjoy could necessitate hiring additional personnel to bridge potential gaps that flexible hours might create, thus preventing operational downtime or decreased productivity.

In essence, granting non-office workers an equivalent level of flexibility could entail unanticipated indirect expenses or the need for supplementary resources, a financial burden that many businesses might find challenging to absorb—especially given the prevailing economic conditions. Consequently, businesses unable to offer such flexibility must explore alternative strategies to retain their workforce.

Industries marked by shift-based roles still have a responsibility to provide a positive employee experience. To address the flexibility gap, businesses with non-office staff need to broaden their scope and seek other avenues to demonstrate appreciation.

For example, providing opportunities for career advancement not only aids in staff retention but also underscores the value the company places on its employees as long-term assets. Establishing apprenticeships or training programs that facilitate employee growth within the organization can also significantly enhance the employee experience.

According to insights gathered during research for Reed’s annual Salary Guides, individuals in sectors like manufacturing and hospitality demonstrate less inclination towards flexible work arrangements as a preferred benefit, instead favouring performance bonuses. Similarly, those in hospitality and retail exhibit a greater interest in workplace discounts compared to their peers in different sectors.

Occupations involving manual labour tend to carry a higher risk of musculoskeletal issues and workplace injuries. Conversely, office-centric roles tend to report stress as the primary health concern among employees. In this context, while flexible work arrangements might assist office workers in managing stress and achieving a work-life balance, offering private insurance or healthcare provisions could prove more advantageous for those engaged in manual labour-intensive roles.

In summary, businesses catering to non-office employees would do well to engage in open communication with their workforce to discern the factors that contribute to a sense of value and contentment at work. Individuals in non-office roles generally acknowledge the inherent limitations on flexibility dictated by the nature of their work, particularly in terms of location and hours.

Thus, a more effective approach lies in providing pertinent alternative benefits, which serve as the cornerstone for enhancing the overall employee experience.

Share this article on social media

Research reveals disparity in adoption rates

The latest findings from Asana’s Work Innovation Lab reveal that while 46% of American office workers integrate AI into their roles on a weekly basis, only 29% of their British counterparts do the same.

In contrast to the UK’s ambition to become a hub for AI safety, as declared by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in June, it appears that UK workers are exhibiting less confidence in embracing this technology.

According to the study, 30% of British workers worry about being perceived as lazy if they incorporate AI at work, whereas only 20% of American workers share the same concern.

This hesitancy among UK workers aligns with their leaders’ perspective as well. US companies are nearly twice as likely to provide AI training to their employees compared to their UK counterparts.

Within the survey, 22% of American companies indicated that they offer training with AI tools, while only 13% of UK companies reported doing the same.

Angelina Gentili, the head of people operations at Personio, emphasised the responsibility of HR leaders to facilitate the transition of employees into a future workplace that heavily involves AI. She stressed the importance of communication regarding AI’s purpose and benefits, fostering confidence and addressing any concerns employees might have.

Gentili also highlighted HR’s role in aiding business leaders in identifying areas ripe for AI implementation to enhance efficiency. Addressing data privacy and policies emerged as a pivotal aspect of this transition. Saket Srivastava, Chief Information Officer at Asana, described this period as a new phase for AI’s role in workplaces, acknowledging certain employee reservations about its perception among peers and managers.

To navigate this shift, Srivastava asserted that employees require clear guidelines, specialised training, and accessible technologies. He stressed that organizations that succeed in this endeavor will harness AI to unlock new dimensions of human creativity.

Asana’s comprehensive report, “The State of AI at Work,” sourced insights from over 4,546 workers in the US and UK, with the UK contributing more than 2,000 responses. The survey took place in July 2023.

Share this article on social media

Average weekly earnings show divergent patterns

In the initial quarter of the year, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics unveiled data indicating a substantial 6.6% surge in the average weekly wage, reaching $1,465, when compared to the previous year. This change was observed across the 360 most populous counties in the United States.

Noteworthy among these counties was Clayton County in Georgia, which experienced an exceptional upswing of 24.3% in the average weekly wage, now resting at $1,586. This notable increase was chiefly fueled by a substantial 29% rise in the “trade, transportation, and utilities” sector.

In contrast, Elkhart County in Indiana encountered the most significant decline in average weekly wage, plummeting by 6.3% to $1,230. This decline was primarily driven by the manufacturing industry, with wages in this sector falling by a matching 6.3%.

Among the ten most sizeable counties, Harris County in Texas witnessed the most significant annual upsurge during the first quarter, with an impressive 9.8% increase, resulting in an average weekly wage of $1,845. This notable growth was primarily steered by the professional and business services sector.

Share this article on social media

Study by CIPD reveals challenges and aspirations

A recent study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has revealed intriguing insights into the job satisfaction levels of HR professionals across Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. The study found that 54% of these professionals express contentment with their current roles.

Nevertheless, the research highlights a noteworthy concern: the toll of burnout resulting from the front-line engagement of these experts in assisting their organizations in navigating the challenges brought about by the recent pandemic and persistent new obstacles. The pressure stemming from these circumstances has led to a sense of overwhelm among certain individuals in the HR domain.

Approximately half of the participants in the CIPD’s survey acknowledged that their respective organizations have encountered adverse effects due to the prevailing economic conditions. This economic climate has generated issues with attracting and retaining skilled personnel, as employees seek more alluring prospects elsewhere. Simultaneously, the financial constraints are compelling HR professionals to devise innovative strategies to enhance the employee journey.

Commenting on the situation, May Leng Kwok, the Regional Head APAC at CIPD, noted, “In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve observed a surge in transformative workplace trends that have posed challenges for talent retention across the Asia Pacific region. Those in the people-centric profession have been at the forefront of these shifts, evidently influencing their job satisfaction and equilibrium between work and personal life.”

In response to these findings, the CIPD has put forward several recommendations to address the existing challenges. These include a concentrated effort on well-being, job mobility, cultivating professional networks, and continual growth of skills and competencies. These strategies are designed to enhance job satisfaction and bolster the resilience of HR professionals.

The study also brought to light the aspirations of the surveyed professionals. A striking three out of four respondents expressed a desire to progress in their careers. Among senior managers, there was a notable inclination toward advancing their careers within different organizations, while those in less senior roles exhibited a preference for upward mobility within their current workplaces.

When contemplating future job choices over the next three years, respondents underscored the significance of financial compensation (56%), career advancement opportunities (51%), and flexible work arrangements (39%).

The survey also emphasized the importance of upskilling, certification attainment, and networking as pivotal components of career advancement. A considerable 86% of participants recognized the significance of upskilling, with senior management personnel unanimously acknowledging its importance.

The study identified three core skills deemed pivotal for career progression within the HR domain: business partnering (51%), learning and development (38%), and organization design and development (34%). These competencies are expected to play a key role in propelling HR professionals toward greater success in their careers.

Share this article on social media

New survey: Younger employees are reluctant to commute post-pandemic

Data analysing how far people are willing to commute in 2023 questions whether businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing the best talent pools in the post-commuting era.

The latest survey on commuting habits, carried out by recruitment experts, Forward Role, compares data they carried out nearly a decade ago when 86% of the UK worked from the office five days a week.

In 2014, 72% of respondents were willing to commute more than 20 miles to work – In 2023, the figure dropped to just 26%. Only 1 in 100 of 2014 respondents said they would only be willing to travel 10 miles or less for their commute. This has rocketed up to more than a third (34%) of people in 2023. On the other end of the spectrum, more than 1 in 6 people (16%) were willing to commute over 40 miles to work in 2014, but in 2023 it was ten times less at just 1 in 60 (1.5%).

The survey revealed that 25-35-year-olds were the least likely to travel more than 40 miles for work in 2023 (<1%), while over 55s were the most likely (33%). In 2023, respondents are more likely to travel between 30 and 60 minutes for work, but less likely to commute longer than this than they were in 2014.

Negative attitudes towards commuting have accelerated due to the pandemic and a 6% price hike in train fares in March – the biggest increase in a decade.

In 2014, 28% of employers offered home working options to their staff. In 2023, the figure jumped to 79% of respondents working from home at least once a week, with 1 in 20 working completely remotely. 34% would prefer to work from home “twice a week.” The survey revealed 66% of respondents felt pressure to work from the office more often than they currently do.

Brian Johnson, Managing Director at Forward Role, said, “The pandemic has had a lasting impact on the UK jobs market, putting flexibility and remote working right at the top of the list for both those established in the workforce and those entering it. Employers who can recognise the new landscape have a chance to capitalise on it — but only if they’re willing to compromise.”

The Forward Role study is available here

Share this article on social media

Senior managers top the poll for working the longest unpaid hours

The average UK worker carries out over 139 hours – the equivalent of 18 days of unpaid overtime a year and half of UK employees regularly working extra, unpaid hours according to a new survey.

The research from HR software provider, Ciphr, reveals millions of employees are regularly shortening their lunch breaks and finishing late to keep ahead of their workload.

The survey polled 1,000 UK workers to discover how much unpaid overtime employees worked on average. It revealed, more employees work unpaid hours than employees who receive overtime pay (49% compared to 23%). Among those who worked unpaid overtime, the average time clocked up each week is just over three hours (184 minutes). Over a five-day work week, that’s around 37 minutes extra per shift. One in nine (11%) of those surveyed are posting five additional, unpaid hours a week.

Employees most likely to work the longest extra hours unpaid are senior managers (averaging 4.1 hours a week) followed by 25-34-year-olds (3.5 hours), remote workers (3.5 hours), and those working in legal services and education (4.1 hours and 3.9 hours).

While many employees expect a degree of unpaid work, few are aware of how those extra minutes (over and above contracted hours) can add up.  Shortening or skipping lunch appears to be the most common way employees overwork. In the week of the survey, 36% of respondents took a full lunch break every day – while 23% failed to have a full lunch break at all.

If this pattern of overworking, through breaks and after hours, is left unchecked long term, it could impact employees’ mental well-being, further leading to resentment, especially if the unpaid overtime is due to big workloads, understaffing, or unrealistic targets.

Claire Williams, chief people officer at Ciphr, says: “If an individual thinks they are doing too many unpaid hours, then it’s vital that they address this with their employer as soon as possible. Doing a bit of extra work occasionally is one thing – and it is relatively common practice to work additional hours, at times, to fulfil your role – but feeling like you ‘have’ to do that extra work regularly because it is being expected of you is quite another. The reality is that there are upsides, as well as obvious downsides, to people working extra hours. It doesn’t always need to be perceived as a negative and it can – and should – generate goodwill and flexibility from employers in return.“

Ciphr has created an unpaid overtime hours calculator that employees can use to estimate how many extra hours they are potentially working for free a year

Share this article on social media