AI is ever emerging, how will it affect the temp work market?

We endeavour to operate at the forefront of our core vertical sectors, which include Engineering, Construction, Logistics, Industrial and Commercial. This means that we pay close attention to new and emerging technologies, the most prevalent of recent times being AI. We predict that this particular trend is here to stay and will, without doubt, define how the temp work market conducts itself in forthcoming years. 

This is because the world of work is becoming increasingly automated and companies and their workers will need to be prepared for changes to job roles and adapt to the developments and innovations this brings. That said, we must take steps to adapt and learn as this technology develops so that we can support our clients and candidates with their bespoke requirements.

We aim to explore the impact of AI across our five key sectors over a series of blogs. This is with a view to helping you understand how AI will affect your particular industry, business or job prospects respectively. We aim to inform our clients about the pros and cons of AI versus temp workers, while ascertaining which tasks and duties our candidates can conduct that machines cannot and vice versa.

Firstly, we will take a look at the overarching impact of AI on the future workplace and how it will affect the temp workforce.

According to data from Statista, the global market for AI is projected to grow to a value of $89.8bn (£68bn) by 2025. AI has the power to affect everything that we do and it is already, it is changing the way that we order products, manage our home and gather information. The World Economic Forum calculated that AI machines handled approximately almost one-third (29%) of tasks across 12 industries in 2018.

By 2022, 62% of search and data processing tasks will be managed by machines. Furthermore, a study from professional networking platform LinkedIn found that more people are adding AI skills to their profiles, highlighting the demand for qualified candidates.

While advocates of AI believe that it could improve the way we work and empower everyday employees, others feel differently. There is even a growing debate that AI could destroy the future workplace by eliminating human roles.

The Government says in its ‘Automation and the future of work’ report that while it does not want to dismiss fears about technology replacing workers, it urges policy makers, businesses and the public to think about the alternatives. This is so that we do not fall behind in productivity and the adoption of new technologies. 

For our part, we do not believe that AI will simply eliminate the need for people but in fact change the types of roles available. By taking the time to learn a new skill-set, people can capitalise on a host of new technical positions and businesses can be sure to move ahead with the times. The ownership and use of these new technologies, processes and robots is likely to make businesses richer and more powerful.

PwC analysis of over 200,000 jobs in 29 countries shows that, in the early 2020s, there will be a relatively low displacement of existing jobs, perhaps only around the 3%. However, job displacement could increase in the late 2020s as the associated technologies mature and are adopted across the wider economy.

More co-operative ownership models, as well as greater employee engagement, are key to ensure a growth in automation, a rise in living standards and a fair economy and society.

Here we address several FAQs around AI in order to determine how it could affect the temp work market.

What exactly is AI?

AI refers to robotic algorithms and machines that can simulate human intelligence. These machines can ‘learn’ by gathering information, use rules for reasoning and even correct themselves when they make mistakes. In the workplace, AI exists in everything from chatbots to intelligent speech recognition systems.

There are many different ways to design an AI system. Some stronger systems are beginning to rely less on human intervention. It is these systems that may lead to worries about robotic singularity. Some companies are even starting to introduce AI as an add-on service over the cloud. According to research firm  Gartner, AI augmentation is expected to generate $2.9 trillion (£2.2 trillion) in business value by 2021.

Artificial intelligence tools could transform the future workplace, by reducing repetitive work and supporting employees. Some of the common forms of technology we see in AI include:

  • Machine learning: A solution which encourages computers to act without programming assistance or human intervention.
  • Automation: Robotic programming automation tools can perform repeatable high volume tasks which afford humans more time to carry out other duties.
  • Natural language process: The process of identifying human language to support data gathering processes and customer service.

How are businesses using AI today?

Fighting fraud and cyber crime

Countless companies are struggling in the ongoing war against cybercrime. Fraud detection depends heavily on the ability to recognise patterns. Machines are capable of detecting trends in behaviour and application usage. Companies are already using machine learning techniques to develop solutions that help companies to identify suspicious activities.

Though it will take time to perfect cybersecurity solutions that allow companies to fight cybercrime, tools are becoming increasingly powerful. Some AI can even detect specific nuances in a person’s voice and use biometric markers to prevent fraud.

Conversational AI

The rise of conversational AI is particularly relevant to the future of work. Companies are developing speech-based assistants like Amazon Alexa which are capable of responding to human language, as well as IVR systems and chatbots.

Through conversational AI, businesses can deliver an enhanced experience to their customers, while taking some of the stress away from human employees. 

Bots and virtual assistants

Increasingly, machine learning algorithms and AI are moving beyond the basic understanding of the text. Today’s machines can also derive meaning from speech, pictures and videos. These systems are the basis of the virtual assistants that employees can use to streamline work performance.

Virtual assistants have the power to do a range of things for businesses. They can order supplies the moment they notice that the system is running low. Chatbots can also set up meetings and automate reminders for workers. Once in a meeting, a bot can take notes and offer real-time transcriptions. 

How will AI positively influence the future of work?

Reducing costs

According to Business Wire, 80% of tech and business leaders believe that AI improves productivity. More productive employees mean better customer service and improved revenue. It can also eliminate the repetitive tasks that cost staff members time and business owners money.

If a task can be broken up into simple sub-tasks, then most of those can be automated. For instance, machines can review security footage to look for specific indicators of suspicious activities. These tools can also automatically renew and request materials in a supply chain. When computers handle the repetitive tasks in the workplace, people have the freedom to focus on more creative jobs and unlock their real potential.

Improving efficiency

Voice assistants do not replace jobs, they exist to add more value to people who are already employed within a team. For instance, a virtual assistant in the office collaboration tool can automatically manage tasks, adapt schedules and set-up meetings and more. This means that employees have more time to work on the projects that matter most to them.

Better customer service

Customer experience is critical in any business. Customers do not judge a company by the price of their products or the range of services that they offer. Instead, your clients want to know that you will deliver the experience that they need on any platform. Unfortunately, it is notoriously difficult for companies to keep track of their customers across everything from SMS, phone calls and social media.

AI can deliver an era of better customer experience by ensuring people get the right response at the right time. Intelligent chatbots and IVR solutions can answer simple customer questions and send complex queries to the correct agent using smart routing. The result is happier customers and less stressed employees.

Can machines and humans truly work side by side?

For many companies today, AI represents an exciting opportunity to improve efficiency and enhance business performance. However, it is hard to overlook the growing fear that these tools will also destroy the future of work for many employees. The concern that AI will automate and eliminate jobs has been growing over the years.

While it is difficult to predict the future, the truth is it is unlikely that bots will ever replace human beings. Although AI can definitely supplement human workers and make it easier for them to complete their tasks, there will always be a need for human creativity, innovation and intuition in the workplace.

Artificial Intelligence can do a lot of things, but bots cannot completely replace or imitate human workers. More often than not, these tools will instead be implemented to give more power back to human employees, by automating the tasks that take up too much of their time.

Furthermore, AI is creating a slew of new jobs in many areas that did previously exist. Gartner believes that artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys. For now, the relationship between human workers and AI is likely to be a symbiotic one.