Expert urges HR to create 'good jobs' in the face of AI

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 16:35:00 GMT

The chief executive of the leading professional body of HR professionals has outlined the challenge posed by Artificial Intelligence to the world of work, in a keynote lecture at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Peter Cheese, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), told students, alumni and invited guests, that creating meaningful jobs for people will be one of the biggest tasks facing the profession in the coming years.

The lecture, entitled The Future of Work and the Future of the Profession, covered issues around automation, the gig economy, and political uncertainty around the world.

GCU is Scotland’s oldest accredited University member of CIPD and offers postgraduate and undergraduate programmes in human resource management.

Around 50 students, external guests, teaching staff and doctoral students attended the lecture, which was introduced by Professor Rona Beattie and Alex Killick, Director of People at GCU.

Mr Cheese said HR professionals would be challenged to design skilled jobs to create a happy, more fulfilled, workforce, in the future.

He said: “I’ve been around technology all my life but this is different, in terms of the scale and speed of AI. It is ubiquitous, it is everywhere. Every single sector is looking at how to introduce AI, machine learning or robotics to do tasks. The reason for it is that it is being driven by economics.

“We need to have a debate about ‘good work’. The biggest challenge for HR is to build jobs that are good for people.  Providing good work for human beings drives economic output, it drives engagement and it drives well-being. 

“You can’t use the past to judge the future because this is different. There are debates in countries like Sweden about reducing the working week. There are factories in Japan with no people in them, just robots.

“How can we design better jobs for people that utilise their skills?”

“For the future of the profession, it’s going to be as important as anything we do.”

CIPD has more than 145,000 members around the world and is the only body that can award Chartered status to individual HR professionals.