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Category: HR Tech

Balancing AI bans with innovation opportunities

In a recent survey, 76% of IT decision makers voiced their support for organisations’ authority to regulate the applications employees use for business purposes. However, a significant 66% of respondents found current bans on generative AI to be excessively restrictive.

According to these IT professionals, generative AI holds potential for driving efficiency (53%), fostering innovation (44%), and nurturing creativity (42%) within the workplace.

Stephanie Coward, Managing Director for Human Capital Management at IRIS Software Group, emphasised that an outright ban on AI should only be considered as a last resort. Speaking to HR Magazine, she stated, “AI is an evolving reality, with ChatGPT being just the pioneer among many future innovations. Embracing this technological progression is vital, rather than resisting it out of fear.”

Coward further elaborated that businesses should follow a balanced approach when regulating AI. Establishing clear guidelines through frameworks or codes of conduct, while avoiding excessive rigidity to safeguard creativity, is essential.

Rather than imposing a complete ban on generative AI, Coward recommended a more pragmatic strategy. She advised companies to identify potential use cases and initiate pilot programs to validate the practicality of AI’s promises. This method ensures that risks are comprehensively understood and can be effectively mitigated.

She stressed the importance of creating an internal testing environment, allowing employees to experiment with AI in a controlled manner. This approach, she believes, will lead to greater long-term productivity and a more secure integration of AI tools into daily operations.

Another study conducted by in July 2023 revealed that 68% of business leaders believe that employees should use AI with their managers’ consent. Shishir Singh, Chief Technology Officer at BlackBerry, emphasised the need to develop policies around AI as technology advances. He highlighted the potential loss of valuable business benefits if generative AI is entirely prohibited in the workplace.

Singh recommended incorporating flexibility into organisational policies as AI platforms mature and regulations evolve. He emphasised the significance of implementing proper tools for monitoring, managing, and overseeing applications used within the workplace.

The insights from the survey were gathered through research conducted by BlackBerry in June and July 2023, involving 2000 IT decision makers worldwide

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Tech job vacancies increase by 26%

London’s bruised technology sector is slowly bouncing back  – in June new tech job roles within tech firms increased by +10.3% on the previous month, and by +25.7% in May.

When looking at technology roles based in non-tech companies, London job volume was only marginally down in the past month (-1.52%) and saw a marginal increase of +11.48% in May.

The new report from recruitment specialists Robert Walters and jobs market intelligence firm Vacancysoft reveals that if job volume for tech-based roles continues at the same pace – London would still be -54.2% down, compared to 2022.

Early March saw the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank – sending shockwaves through the global tech market, with investors holding back to see what the fallout may be. The following month saw tech giant Meta layoff 4,000 employees, with Google’s parent company Alphabet announcing 12,000 job losses at the start of this year, and Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk cutting his company headcount by 80% since taking over at the end of 2022. The ramifications were felt in London, with tech job roles within tech companies, plummeting by -50.4% in April (vs the previous month), and non-tech firms by -37%, according to the Robert Walters report.

Job creation for software developers and engineers has returned to pre-pandemic levels – accounting for 28% of all London-tech roles currently advertised. Tech Management and Infrastructure roles have also increased – accounting for 23% and 14% of all roles advertised for, respectively, with a +2% increase.

The only two sectors that have surpassed the volume of tech roles that have been hired for this year compared to 2022 are Not-For-Profits (+72%) and Industrials and Engineering (+17%). London’s banking and financial services sector continues to invest back into its tech function – with 28.8% of all new London roles coming from this market. This year, the volume of new tech roles across UK banks NatWest Markets and Lloyds has increased by +72.5% and +48.4% respectively.

James Chaplin, CEO of Vacancysoft said: “While tech companies may have cut back on their recruitment this year, the industry is taking an ever-increasingly important role in the London economy. With that, we are forecasting the sector to rebound next year, as the economy normalises.”

Ben Litvinoff, Associate Director, of Technology at Robert Walters said:  “The early signs of job flow returning are linked to considered and business-critical hires, the return of transformation and change projects which may have been put on hold at the start of this year, and investor activity slowly returning leading to a rise in demand for developers and infrastructure specialists. Much like in any industry, the largest players can have a notable impact on business and investor confidence.”

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UK on track to becoming a tech superpower

New data reveals the IT and information services industry has seen the biggest improvement in productivity – growing by 13.71% year-on-year (YOY) since Q4 2022.

The Business Productivity Index, by ECI Software Solutions, reveals the 20 industries have seen the biggest leap in productivity and the least.  Between January to March 2023, the total register for public companies increased by 63,462 – 8.2% more than the same period in the previous year.

ECI’s Business Productivity Index analysed Office for National Statistics (ONS) data to see which industry’s productivity has grown the most, YOY. To create the business productivity index, the ECI used ONS productivity overview data from 20 industries relating to the final quarter of 2022, which was segmented by industry and year, to understand percentage change over time.

The IT and information productivity growth of 13.71%  – validates the UK’s drive toward becoming a technology and science superpower – with more than three million people working in UK tech. Since the ONS started measuring labour productivity, its average lifetime output sits at 74.79, while in 2022 it reached 121.1.

Productivity growth for businesses manufacturing food products, beverages and tobacco rose the least YOY, by just 2.02%. This was the only manufacturing sub-sector featured on the list to experience an increase in productivity. Production of transport equipment products took the biggest productivity hit, falling by 7.98% when compared to the same period last year.

Four other sectors of manufacturing also suffered a productivity loss – the manufacture of wood and paper products, printing and reproduction of recorded media fell by 2.77%; the manufacture of chemicals, chemical products and basic pharmaceutical products fell by 4.21%; and the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products and electrical equipment fell by 4.64%. Although the manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products fell by 7.98%, this industry’s lifetime average is the highest on the list, at 100.48 points. In comparison, the average lifetime output for real estate activities (excluding imputed rental) sits at just 70.75 overall and is the lowest.

Beyond manufacturing, the industry with the biggest YOY productivity decrease was real estate activities, which decreased by 3.60%, and production which fell by 2.50%. The ONS has created a calculator for businesses to understand how productive they currently are.

Chris Fisher, VP of EMEA, LBMH at ECI Software Solutions said: “There’s a real push to improve productivity across the UK, getting us up to speed with some of our global peers. Recent statistics show that, across all industries, productivity is still at the same level as it was before the pandemic – though it has managed to successfully rise above the 2020 dip. Manufacturing seems to be particularly harshly hit and likely to be reeling from the effects of Covid-19 yet it also poses the most exciting opportunity. Data and IT services are becoming more accessible – and in turn, manufacturing businesses are well placed to make the most of the innovations coming out of the sector to help it work smart in the future.”

ECI’s Business Productivity Index can be viewed online here.

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AI has “considerable scope in unlocking talent intelligence” 

A new white paper suggests that HR leaders’ lack of understanding about generative AI may be the primary reason for its limited adoption within HR departments. The research conducted by The Josh Bersin Company reveals that although HR leaders recognise the value of this technology, they admit to having limited knowledge about generative AI.

The study, which involved interviews with senior AI-aware executives, engineers, and product leaders, as well as global HR leaders attending the Irresistible 2023 conference, highlights a hesitancy among HR leaders due to the lack of clarity surrounding the transformative potential of AI in HR. In a media release, CEO Josh Bersin emphasized the apprehension associated with the scope of AI’s impact on HR.

These findings are significant in light of the expectation that HR leaders would spearhead the integration of AI in the workplace. However, recent research by Gartner reveals that only a mere 5% of HR leaders have implemented generative AI in their operations, with just 9% planning to do so in the future. The majority of HR leaders are currently exploring ways to leverage this technology effectively.

According to the white paper, AI has significant potential to unlock talent intelligence, offering new tools for talent recruitment, development, and retention. Currently, HR leaders utilising generative AI primarily employ it for administrative tasks, document generation, and job description creation, as per Gartner’s findings. However, Josh Bersin’s white paper indicates that many HR leaders remain hesitant about AI’s role and its potential applications in HR and talent-related scenarios.

Bersin seeks to reassure HR leaders by reminding them that adapting to emerging technologies is not a new challenge for CHROs and their workforces. He aims to alleviate their concerns and make AI more approachable by translating AI-related barriers into relatable problems. Bersin emphasises the need for HR leaders to become more comfortable with AI and its capabilities.

“We demonstrate that AI can contribute to better targeting and reduced time to hire, as well as identifying less obvious talent pipelines, among many other use cases,” Bersin explained. “Ultimately, our goal is to clarify AI’s role in the future of HR, enabling employers to proactively harness its potential.”

Notably, HR leaders have previously expressed fears about AI potentially replacing them. Recent findings confirm that “most HR leaders” expect a decrease in headcount within their departments as AI continues to be implemented.

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Estimated number of vacancies declined

The UK employment rate saw an increase in the March to May 2023 period, reaching an estimated 76.0%, up by 0.2 percentage points from the December 2022 to February 2023 period. The rise in employment was primarily driven by part-time employees, according to recent data.

However, the estimate of payrolled employees for June 2023 showed a monthly decrease, with 9,000 fewer employees compared to the revised May 2023 figure. The provisional estimate of payrolled employees in June 2023 is subject to revision once more data is received next month.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for the March to May 2023 period increased by 0.2% to 4.0%. The rise in unemployment was primarily due to individuals who had been unemployed for up to 12 months.

On a positive note, the economic inactivity rate decreased by 0.4% in the March to May 2023 period, reaching 20.8%. The decline in economic inactivity was largely driven by individuals who were inactive for other reasons, such as those looking after family or home, as well as retirees.

The changes in employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity rates during the latest quarter were primarily attributed to men.

In April to June 2023, the estimated number of vacancies experienced a decline of 85,000 compared to the previous quarter, bringing the total to 1,034,000. This marks the twelfth consecutive quarter of decreasing vacancies.

In terms of average total pay growth, including bonuses, there was a notable increase of 6.9% in the March to May 2023 period. Similarly, regular pay growth, excluding bonuses, reached 7.3% during the same period. This level of growth in regular pay equals the highest growth rate observed last month and during the COVID-19 pandemic period in April to June 2021.

However, in real terms adjusted for inflation, both total pay and regular pay experienced a decrease on a yearly basis in the March to May 2023 period. Total pay fell by 1.2% and regular pay fell by 0.8%.

Finally, the number of working days lost due to labour disputes in May 2023 was 128,000, marking the lowest figure since July 2022.

Michael Stull, Director at ManpowerGroup UK, commented: “The gradual decline of vacancies overall and slight rise in the unemployment rate to 4.0%, contrasts with a very strong hiring intent that we’re seeing from employers in nearly every sector and across all parts of the UK. It brings home the reality of the talent shortages reported by 80% of UK employers, with skills development now a critical longer-term priority that will help put the economy back on track.  

Added to this, questions continue to be raised over whether people are typically more productive at home or in the workplace as the debate around hybrid-working best practice rumbles on. It’s causing a lot of anxiety for both employers and employees who each have their own ideas about what ‘good’ flexibility should be.   

“In such a tight labour market consisting of many workers who are set on pursuing career progression – whether that’s by acquiring new skills, earning more money, or finding the most suitable work-life balance – many businesses are understandably reluctant to draw a line in the sand and risk losing out to competition.  But employers need to be crystal clear about their expectations are, treating their workers as an asset and with convincing and compelling reasons outlined for when employees are expected to be in the workplace.

 “Firm and fast decision-making is advised in any case. Speed is a big determinant of success in the current labour market and those organisations that are quicker to assess and interview candidates will gain a significant advantage .”

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With data revealing employers are failing to use AI to its full potential

Employers are not fully embracing Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) potential to support productivity –  with 56% saying their employers are not encouraging AI at work.

Data commissioned by analytics company Visier, has revealed that despite having access to AI, UK employees could save approximately 390 hours of working time per year. Of those employees already embracing AI in the workplace, they’re potentially saving around 1.55 hours per day.

The data comes as the UK government races to build the regulation required to keep up with AI – however, employers are not fully embracing AI’s potential to support productivity in the workplace. 53% of employees are concerned about AI replacing the skills they have and 67% of employees believe that developing AI skills is vital for career growth, with more than half (52%) of employees expecting their employers to take the lead on AI upskilling.

The data highlights a discrepancy between the skills employees rank highly and their attitudes towards AI skills. Traditional skills, like soft skills (40%) and leadership skills (43%) were ranked the most important to support career growth. Hard skills such as emerging technology (10%) were ranked less than the development of traditional skills.

More than one in three said AI will add stress at work and 37% fear their accuracy will dip while 38% have concerns surrounding their data privacy. However, 40% agree AI will improve their work-life balance, and 31% believe it will help close the UK’s skills gap.

Ben Harris, Director UK MD at Visier said, “By taking a skills-based view, organisations can rethink roles, and identify skills that can be combined with emerging technologies, like AI, to future-proof jobs, boost productivity and enhance performance. In a context of skills and labour shortages, combining AI with transferable skills will enable companies to fill gaps easily and stay competitive while minimising redundancies.”

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Adaptable mindset is crucial, according to CIPD Head of Learning

According to the 2023 Learning at Work survey conducted by the CIPD, only 5% of learning and development (L&D) professionals currently utilise AI tools like ChatGPT to facilitate learning. However, over half (55%) of L&D leaders claim to be pioneering new advancements in technology.

The survey revealed that 68% of L&D leaders believe they have been successful in leveraging available learning technologies. However, as of February 2023, only 1 in 20 learning functions were using AI tools, and just 6% have plans to incorporate them within the next year.

Despite the widespread coverage of AI in the workplace and its potential for HR tasks, Michelle Parry-Slater, L&D Director at Kairos Modern Learning, explained that widespread adoption of AI in development activities will only occur when it can effectively address specific learning challenges. She stated in an interview: “Until we, in L&D, have a real need to get involved and learn about AI, it will just trundle along in the background. That said, I don’t think AI is going away.”

Parry-Slater expressed her belief that while AI will not replace the need for human involvement in L&D, it may have a role in generating learning content if the professionals utilising it possess the necessary skills. She emphasised the importance of creating the right prompts to develop learning content quickly, stating, “The skill [for L&D professionals and learners] will not be in using AI but in creating the right prompts to create learning content at speed. If we don’t write the right prompts, the learning content will be wrong.” she also suggested that the future of L&D would likely involve a combination of AI and other tools, explaining, “What we’re beginning to understand is all these things play a part of the story.”

Parry-Slater expressed confidence that L&D functions will be capable of adapting once AI becomes more prevalent in learning, citing the swift adoption of digital learning practices during the pandemic as evidence. She added, “L&D upskilled to being digital because we had to, and people realised the values.”

Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning at the CIPD, believes that this adaptable mindset will be crucial for L&D professionals to continue innovating with technology and learning delivery. He emphasised the need for learning practitioners to engage in consultative discussions, utilise data and insights, and foster innovative approaches to provide accessible solutions, particularly in addressing new ways of working and digital skills post-pandemic.

The CIPD’s 2023 Learning at Work survey collected responses from 1,108 individuals involved in supporting workplace learning.

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Tech firm reveals the top ways to reach out to entry-level talent

With the Chancellor’s recent pledge of £3.5 billion to support tech – there’s never been a more exciting time to enter a career in technology.

By investing in attracting and nurturing new talent, tech companies can secure their position as industry leaders and ensure a sustainable future amidst evolving technological landscapes. The success of tech companies relies on their ability to attract and harness the potential of new talent, thereby fuelling innovation, fostering growth, and driving technological advancements for the benefit of society.

Following a stratospheric revenue growth of over 750% from £267,000 in 2018 to £ 2.3 million in 2022, UK tech firm, Talk Think Do has come up with six routes to reaching entry-level talent:

 Early exposure: Businesses can utilise careers fairs to reach out to students, apprentices, and graduates, interested in tech, via coding events, or tech-related workshops in schools and community centres.

Make tech relatable and relevant: UK tech firms can demonstrate how technology impacts daily lives and solves real-world problems, via work experience placements. Helping students work on real-time projects can bring concepts to life. Companies can tap into students’ interests and demonstrate how tech is used in; healthcare, entertainment and environmental sustainability.

Offering a mentorship programme: Team members can mentor students, graduates, and apprentices by providing shared experiences, career paths, and insights – demystifying the industry and boosting confidence. This can be promoted on LinkedIn to share programmes with other professionals in their network to initiate positive conversations.

Embrace AI: Teaching students how AI can be a highly marketable skill when used correctly, is invaluable – putting the tech company in a strong position to attract talent and become thought leaders in the AI space.

Diversity and inclusion: Proactively reaching out to underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, to pursue tech careers. Ideas include; using blog posts and case studies; showcasing successful, relatable role models in tech.

Highlight career prospects and opportunities: Using social media to present visuals – bringing employees’ potential career pathways to life for those new to the sector can paint a clear picture of opportunities available and give tech companies a competitive edge.

Promote free learning and development: Entry-level talent are looking for support and training on the job, and illustrating the availability of online resources, courses, and certifications through online literature, downloadable PDFs and infographics can effectively communicate this message. Offering free information opens new conversations with those looking to advance their understanding of the tech industry.

Matt Hammond, thefounder of UK tech firm, Talk Think Do, said: “Technology is constantly evolving, with new programming languages, frameworks, and tools emerging regularly. To keep pace, organisations need a continuous influx of talent that adapts quickly and brings a fresh understanding of the latest technologies. Attracting entry-level talent fosters diversity and inclusion, which is crucial for the tech industry’s success.”

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The TIARAs recognize and celebrate the best HR and Recruitment technology solutions!

The prestigious TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards are set to illuminate the outstanding HR and Recruitment technology solutions available to employers, recruiters, candidates, and contractors. This highly anticipated campaign seeks to honour excellence in various categories, including innovation, impact, growth, purpose, and ambition, shedding light on the market leaders and their potential for expansion.

In the previous edition held in 2022, notable winners emerged, such as iCIMS, WorkLLama, PandoLogic, PH. Creative, Joonko, Eightfold AI, and Plum & Talroo. The remarkable achievements of these organisations have been recognised for their game-changing innovation, exceptional customer service, and well-documented case studies and testimonials. For further details on the winners and their respective awards, please refer to the provided link.

Ken Brotherston, CEO of TALiNT Partners, expressed his enthusiasm for the TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards, stating, “This event celebrates the accomplishments of a diverse range of organisations, from promising early-stage start-ups to thriving SMEs and established market leaders. The awards validate their groundbreaking innovations and unwavering commitment to delivering excellent customer service, as demonstrated by their solid case studies and testimonials.”

The judging process for the TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards has been meticulously designed to align with the expectations of buyers and investors. Key performance metrics, case studies, and testimonials play a vital role in determining the winners. Esteemed professionals from prominent companies like Randstad Sourceright, Brightfield, EQ Community, Bullhorn, and Gotham Growth Group form the impressive and influential panel of judges. Their expertise will be instrumental in selecting winners across eight categories, along with the prestigious Judge’s Choice Awards – The Champion of Champions Award.

Ray Culver, TALiNT Partners Country Manager, Americas, emphasized the significance of the event, stating, “This year, we will once again honour the Talent Tech Stars who are driving innovation across various aspects of the talent ecosystem, empowering employers and recruiters to adapt and transform. Our judges will seek out well-executed innovation, exceptional customer service that goes beyond the ordinary, and the best return on investment in terms of people and profit with purpose. Additionally, they will evaluate the ambition, vision, and the positive change each nominee champions.”

The 2023 TIARA Talent Tech Star Awards will be hosted alongside the Talent Acquisition US Awards, serving as the pinnacle of the two-day Talent & TIARAs event scheduled to take place in Dallas towards the end of the year.

To learn more about this year’s award categories, esteemed judges, and partners, please visit

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Cutting-edge tool gives candidates a competitive edge

Created by Adzuna, the smarter free AI tool, Prepper, allows job seekers to prepare for job interviews by generating questions and coaching them on how best to respond – offering new hope to nervous candidates.

Recent advances in large language models (LLMs), alongside Adzuna’s proprietary data and expertise, have made it realistic to simulate interview questions for any job at any company. Users paste the job title, job description and company name into Prepper, and the tool generates the five interview questions most likely to be asked.

Users can input draft answers to practise their responses and the AI coach will provide feedback scores and detailed suggestions on how to improve. Users can also ask Prepper to generate model answers, without any input, to help them prepare for the interview.  It follows research revealing 93% of job seekers experience pre-interview anxiety, with the top job interview worry being unable to answer a difficult question (cited by 41% of respondents).

The cutting-edge tool is trained on over 10 years of job market data, uses generative AI to predict interview questions for over a million roles and coaches job seekers on how to respond and can simulate some of the world’s toughest company interviews, including Google, Amazon, and NASA.

The AI tool uses in-built prompts to generate and review interview questions and model answers and assesses and scores candidates’ answers, reviewing each response against the skills and requirements sought by the employer and providing bespoke feedback to help candidates improve. Adzuna has also created three personas based on a series of advanced system prompts. Users can test themselves on three modes – ‘easy, hard and pirate mode’ – helping them to build confidence before the interview.

Companies can also use the tool as a shortcut to prep interview questions for open roles and the tool is initially launching across Adzuna’s UK and US sites.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Not everyone has the resources to pay for a career coach to help them land a job or build confidence ahead of the job interview process, so we’re excited to launch this new free AI interview coach allowing jobseekers to prepare for interviews without paying a penny.”

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