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Fresh SHRM Research Explores Use of Automation and AI in HR

One-Quarter of Organizations Use It, Improving Efficiency But Raising Key Questions




ALEXANDRIA, Va. — New research by SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) shows that nearly 1 in 4 organizations report using automation or artificial intelligence (AI) to support HR-related activities, including recruitment and hiring.

Of those who use these tools, over 2 in 3 HR professionals say the time it takes to fill open positions is somewhat (53 percent) or much better (16 percent) due to their use of automation or AI. However, only 2 in 5 employers that source these tools from a vendor say their vendor is very transparent about the steps taken to ensure the tools protect against bias.

"Clearly, automation helps HR deliver value to organizations, especially when it comes to acquiring top talent," said SHRM Chief of Staff and Head of Government Affairs Emily M. Dickens. "But we need to be assured the tools we use do not lead to bias in the hiring process, performance management or other areas of HR. I am pleased to note the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched an agency-wide initiative to ensure AI systems comply with civil rights law. We look forward to being a partner in these important efforts."

Large employers lead: Most small and mid-sized organizations are not using automation or AI to support HR-related activities. SHRM found just 16 percent of employers with fewer than 100 workers use automation or AI compared to 42 percent of employers with 5,000 or more workers.

On the increase: The research revealed that 1 in 4 organizations plan to start using or increase their use of automation or AI in recruitment and hiring in the next five years, and 1 in 5 organizations plan to start using or increase their use of those tools for performance management over the next five years.

Rooting out bias: While 30 percent say the use of automation or AI improves their ability to reduce potential bias in hiring decisions, 46 percent would like to see more information or resources on how to identify any potential bias when using these tools.

Here are other key findings from SHRM's survey:

  • 85 percent of employers that use automation or AI say it saves them time and/or increases their efficiency.
  • 64 percent of HR professionals say their organization's automation or AI tools automatically filter out unqualified applicants.
  • Over 2 in 3 HR professionals say the quantity of applications they must manually review is
    somewhat (44 percent) or much better (24 percent) due to their use of automation or AI.
  • 92 percent of organizations that use automation or AI source some or all of these tools directly from a vendor.
  • 19 percent of organizations that use automation or AI have experienced those tools accidentally overlooking or excluding qualified applicants or employees.

These findings are part of a broader recruitment study being presented at the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo, which runs April 10-13 in Denver.
 
Methodology

The survey was fielded electronically to a random sample of HR professionals from the active SHRM
membership February 1-17, 2022. In total, 1,688 members participated in the survey. Academics, students, consultants, and retired HR professionals were excluded. Respondents represented organizations of all sizes in a wide variety of industries across the United States.

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at SHRM.org and on Twitter @SHRM.


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