How AI may be the key to future-proofing jobs at risk of being automated

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AI isn’t stealing jobs. It could be the key to retraining workers for the jobs of the future.

While reskilling of America may be one of the top challenges for employers over the coming decade, employers that use technology and AI to nurture their staff’s career development will be the big winners in keeping top talent, says Anne Fulton, CEO of of Fuel50, a career pathing solution that provides AI tools to bolster employee retention.

Artificial intelligence and automation is estimated to replace 75 million jobs by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum. Companies have started adopting AI in ways that best support their workforce, without losing valuable employees.

“We need to think very carefully about how to leverage AI and automation and implementation so that people's contributions are protected,” Fulton says. “I'm a proponent of protecting those jobs but let’s power that person up with as much AI and intelligence so they can do their job better.”

Fuel50 utilizes artificial intelligence through algorithms to match employees with internal opportunities with their current employers. The program also provides learning tools and professional development training.

With a roster of 70 companies worldwide and more than one million employees engaged in the program, Fulton says Fuel50 bridges the gap between AI and “human touch” to help employees seek out opportunities within their own organizations instead of looking for other employment elsewhere.

Read more: How AI can assist overworked human resources

“AI has come into many jobs, but I think there is an awareness that it can be done better and there are risks associated with removing those learning moments and problem solving skills,” Fulton says. “Organizations have been struggling to fill those positions and HR needs to think very, very carefully around how they can future-proof their business and have the skills for the future.”

Employees are eager to gain valuable skills and education needed to advance in their careers. According to a 2019 survey by Careerbuilder, just 32% of employees are satisfied with opportunities for career advancement within their own company and 58% say their employer does not offer enough opportunities to advance their skills with education and training. However 73% of employees said they would participate if opportunities were made available.

“To attract and retain talent, hiring managers will need to meet workers' career expectations and provide the perks, work-life balance and career advancement opportunities they demand," says Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder.

Companies are quickly recognizing the need to invest not just in technology, but in their workforce too. In July, Amazon announced it would be spending $700 million to train more than 100,000 workers for higher-skilled positions by 2025.

“We think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves,” Beth Galetti, senior vice president of HR at Amazon, said in a statement.

Read more: The real reason employees leave their employer

Fulton believes this investment will pay off — Fuel50 provides educational and skills-based training through their online module and helps identify opportunities within an organization where those skills are most valued. Fulton says the program helps employees stay engaged and excited about their future path.

“We start with the employee first. Most HR technology is top-down, compliance driven. We're all about you and your future,” Fulton says. “Part of that future includes your resilience. We want you to be agile, engaged, motivated and at your best at work.”

Currently, Fuel50 has been implemented at DHL, eBay and Pepsi, among other companies.

By focusing on improving the employee experience, companies are able to balance the fast pace of automation and technology with a more engaged and well-skilled workforce aligned with a company’s vision for the future, Fulton says.

“We're a retention solution, helping employees see where the future lies within that organization,” Fulton says. “My dream is we utilize AI so that humans are able to do their jobs better and in a more powerful way and people can create futures for themselves.”

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Artificial intelligence Employee retention Career advancement