AI employment crisis

Concerned office workers admit ignorance on skills to survive

The UK could be heading for an AI triggered employment crisis as four in 10 UK office workers think that it will replace them in their job, but a majority have no idea how and what skills they might need to keep ahead of these dramatic technological changes. The findings are part of new research of 2,000 UK workers from LHH, a leading global talent development and career solutions company, that highlights the pressures, concerns and struggles of the UK workforce as it adapts to the impact of AI across the employment market.

LHH’s research revealed that 45 per cent are worried their skills are not up to date enough for future job opportunities and 59 per cent said they would like to develop new skills to propel their career, but have no idea how to pursue them. Despite the current economic climate 63 per cent of workers are now considering a job change. In fact, 19 per cent are considering one specifically to gain new skills.

JC Townend, President of the Adecco Group and CEO at LHH Career Transition & Mobility for UK&I commented: “It’s clear that the fear of being displaced by AI is keeping UK workers awake this summer. No doubt stimulated by the media hype and the unknown, many are wondering what their opportunities could look like in the coming years.

“However, this could be a time of real opportunity, with new roles and requirements appearing all the time. People should embrace AI, not fear it.  AI-equipped automation technology could be the exact solution businesses can employ to aid staff with their workload pressures.”

Despite these concerns, almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of surveyed workers revealed that they haven’t had a career development conversation with their manager in the last 12 months. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 61 per cent are worried about the economy and recent layoff and redundancy news, and 40 per cent expressed concern about being laid off by their current employer.

Workloads are increasing too. Two-thirds (67 per cent) said they have been asked to take on more work due to recent resignations and hiring freezes, and 75 per cent said their work culture includes an expectation to go above and beyond at all times.

JC Townend continued: “Given these results, the real issue facing businesses this year is their leadership and development initiatives. Office workers are clearly in need of more guidance and support when it comes to nurturing their careers and developing their skillset, something with which their employers are evidently struggling.

“Employees are at a critical juncture and businesses cannot simply close their eyes and hope employees will find their own paths while the traditional career paths are vanishing,” JC added. “One CHRO I spoke with said they’ve stopped publishing career paths because they were becoming obsolete as fast as they were writing them. The best approach is teaching employees to be their own career activist – finding and preparing themselves for their company’s jobs of the future, and using job-landing skills to achieve internal mobility.  If the company does not have the time/expertise to do this themselves, I would recommend bringing in an outside expert who can do this without creating additional burdens for HR and managers.  Companies who give their employees these skills are more likely to engage and retain them, and will be delighted as employees find their own ways to be more valuable to the company and fill the jobs of the future.

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