Talent Acquisition in the GenAI Era: Replace, Reskill, or Recruit?

3 minutes

Last year’s sweeping tech layoffs were justified by economic pressures. The new wave of layoffs is being blamed on Artificial Intelligence (AI). And it isn’t just Google. In January 2024 alone, according to layoffs.fyi, 100 tech companies have laid off nearly 30,000 employees in an industry-wide move that is being attributed to the rise of generative AI, sparking renewed concern about AI’s potential to disrupt the world of work in what could be the largest global labour market shift since industrialisation.

The Rise of Generative AI

According to new research from Oxford Economics and Cognizant, “Generative AI could deliver up to $1 trillion in annual growth by 2032, while potentially disrupting up to 90% of existing jobs.” Some predict a doomsday scenario, with generative AI replacing the white-collar workforce on a similar scale to the impact of automation on manufacturing; among the roles with the highest exposure are administrative and clerical work, customer service and even software engineering.

However, headlines may be misleading - with the exception of Google’s ad team layoffs, many of the most headline-grabbing tech cuts this month reflect tech firms moving to focus on the AI part of their business, in response to the market, rather than the direct replacement of personnel with Generative AI tools.

In response to this change, demand for AI talent is at an all-time high, creating a fiercely competitive environment - last year, Netflix made headlines listing an AI Product Manager role with a salary of $900,000. While this may be atypical, it is undeniable that surging demand, particularly for PhD-educated roles, has vastly changed the landscape for tech talent, according to CompTIA  AI positions now account for over 10% of all tech sector vacancies.

How Does the Demand for AI and Tech Talent Impact Talent Acquisition?

For talent acquisition, this creates a perfect storm. Tech recruiters are working in one of the most competitive talent markets of their careers, while the rest of the industry is rocked by the rise of generative AI and its potential to disrupt roles at every level. This creates an urgent need for HR and talent acquisition to take a strategic role and lead business conversations around AI strategy and the future of work.

There are three questions talent acquisition will have to answer to take a strategic role in these business-critical conversations:

1)     What is the digital replaceability score for our current workforce?

2)     What skills do we need to become an AI-enabled organisation?

3)     Should we recruit or reskill to meet this need?

All three questions underscore the need for Talent Intelligence. For the first time, robust data exists to measure digital replaceability or ‘exposure’, both per role and as a percentage of an organisation. It is also possible (thanks ironically to AI itself) to intricately map potential reskilling journeys and compare the resulting workforce with talent sourced from the market, to definitively answer the “build or buy?” question.

Talent dynamics data also allows talent acquisition to take the lead in a competitive recruitment environment, such as AI engineering today, by modeling new sources of high-potential “step-up” or reskillable talent who might be overlooked by competitors.

Building on 30 years’ of experience in partnering with global, blue-chip organisations, Armstrong Craven provides clients with the tools, training, expertise and capacity to realise immediate benefits from Talent Intelligence. 

The Benefits of Our Talent Intelligence Service:

  • Data-Driven Business Choices
  • Competitive Edge
  • Elevating HR with Data Expertise
  • Empowering Talent Functions
  • Addressing Talent Hurdles
  • Strategising for Future Success

Our tailored approach, driven by research-driven in-depth analysis, collaboration, and cutting-edge tools, can support your business’s talent strategy and give you a competitive edge. Contact our team today to future-proof your business. 

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