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New data shows how generative AI is affecting Australian businesses, from hiring trends to workplace processes

  • Written by David Jones

Generative AI is shaping Australian hiring trends as jobseekers and employers are increasingly using this emerging technology. In June 2023, we conducted some independent research of 300 hiring managers (including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs) that confirmed generative AI is changing how work is done, but not necessarily eliminating jobs the process.

Generative AI is having an impact on the Australian hiring landscape

Generative AI is having a direct impact on most employers’ hiring plans to ensure they are keeping pace with technological advancements. Our research found 34% of Australian employers have hired contractors or consultants to bring in specialised skills while a third (33%) have increased hiring to keep up with innovation. A further 30% of business leaders have shifted their focus to different skills that are more in demand due to advancements in AI and almost a quarter (23%) have outsourced certain projects for these initiatives. Only 28% of employers report that AI and digital transformation processes have not impacted their hiring efforts. While not all employers are at the stage of being able to add headcount, companies are factoring this into their business ‘right-sizing’ efforts, to ensure the professionals they bring in can make a direct and impactful difference on their businesses and bottom line.

The results from our survey reinforce that it is precisely in the environment of automation, by and with AI, that new job profiles are emerging that need people more than ever. While there is a growing demand for workers who already hold these skills, employers know it is an emerging field and so are willing to facilitate the upskilling of staff. Opportunities will be abundant for those who are nimble.

How jobseekers are using generative AI

As an experienced recruiter, I know jobseekers have been using tools such as resume and cover letter builders, and spelling and grammar checkers for some time to make the application process easier and more efficient — and leveraging generative AI is the next step for many. On average across five examples of job application materials, that is email correspondence, resumes, cover letters, writing samples and technical evaluations, 53% of employers are somewhat or completely accepting of generative AI being used by jobseekers. Meanwhile, 28% of employers think using generative AI to craft job application materials is somewhat or completely unacceptable.

Employers are largely onboard with candidates using generative AI to help craft their job application materials as innovation and adaptability become a core business focus. Employers seek employees who do not fear the emergence of new technology as it hints at a forward-thinking mindset and openness to leverage new capabilities.

Considerations for professionals using generative AI

While generative AI can streamline aspects of a job search, it is safe to say there are multiple considerations that are needed when using the technology. Those who opt to utilise it should consistently regard the generated content only as a starting point. From there, individuals must apply their expertise to customise the content with their unique selling points relevant to the role they're applying for. Further, professionals need to be aware of the risks of relying on generative AI. When used irresponsibly, it can produce incorrect or misleading information which may result in misunderstandings or misinterpretations. In saying this, jobseekers that can use generative AI correctly to assist their roles will have an edge over those that don’t.

Employers are using generative AI to optimise processes

Australian employers understand the rapid pace of technological change and do not want to be left behind. They realise the advantages and efficiencies generative AI can bring to their business to improve productivity and save time.

Based on our research, here are the seven most common ways employers are using generative AI in their business processes across finance, technology and business support:

  • Automating IT support processes

  • Automating appointment scheduling and calendar management

  • Automating software testing and QA

  • Processing large volumes of data to improve system performance

  • Producing financial reports and dashboards for decision-making

  • Automating data entry

  • Writing job descriptions

Given generative AI is still being understood by some business leaders, others have identified ways they plan to use AI tools in their company when they are in a position to adopt the new technology:

  • Automating software development processes, such as code generation and optimisation

  • Processing large volumes of data to improve system performance

  • Analysing and categorising customer feedback

  • Automating appointment scheduling and calendar management

  • Automating software testing and QA

  • Automating IT support processes

  • Benchmarking compensation and benefits

Generative AI is here to stay and while some workers have questions about the impact it will have on their careers, it’s important to be open to learning new technologies and understand how it can help enhance their current role and career prospects. Implementing generative AI in the workplace will require clear communication, a clear set of guidelines, and training options so that workers can fully understand the benefits. Ultimately, it’s important to think of generative AI as a tool, not a substitute for human thinking and expertise.

Byline by David Jones, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half Asia Pacific

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