Artificial intelligence (AI) could boost workforce productivity, but HR professionals need to build employees' trust and upskill staff appropriately if they are to take full advantage, says recruiting experts Hays.

"AI is already being used to complete vital tasks in workplaces across a range of industries, but it could be used to boost productivity for the workforce generally," says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.

PwC analysis suggests that AI could contribute US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with US$6.6 trillion of this coming from increased productivity. These gains are expected to come from the automation of processes, coupled with AI technologies augmenting the existing labour force.

There are already examples of AI having this sort of impact. As reported in the Hays Journal, fund managers are using AI to track media stories about particular companies to glean important information that could impact share prices, while GPs are trialling a system that conducts an initial triage of patients to determine who requires primary care.

While some basic positions are likely to be taken over by machines, AI is also creating a need for more highly-skilled professionals.

"With AI taking over routine tasks, employees can focus on the more exciting and non-repetitive aspects of their job or even move into other areas," Deligiannis says. "Upskilling will therefore be essential.

"So too will the need for HR to support the implementation of AI while alleviating the perceived threat that many workers see it posing to their livelihood. Part of this will involve talking about the rationale behind it, and explaining how it can help individuals perform their job and potentially develop their career through learning new skills."

This issue is explored further in the latest Hays Journal. Get your copy here.

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