Losing Talent in the Age of AI: Global Survey Finds Businesses Fail to Unlock the Full Potential of their Employees

Kelly report discovers most talent strategies are ineffective, identifies workforce leaders defying trends

TROY, Mich., June 12, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Businesses are failing to unlock the full potential of their employees and poor workforce planning is holding back growth for most organizations, a global survey by specialty talent solutions provider Kelly has found. The 2024 Kelly Global Re:work Report reveals executives are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to solve these challenges but struggle to implement digital strategies effectively and neglect to offer adequate training to employees.

The fourth annual global workforce report from Kelly, titled Building a Resilient Workforce in the Age of AI, shows 54% of senior executives say poor workforce planning is impeding business growth and 47% say they are missing business opportunities due to a lack of talent. Four in 10 executives (42%) say they are not unlocking the full potential of their workforce.

Workers attribute this failure to their employers, citing a lack of skills development and career progression as their top frustrations. Notably, women say they are at a disadvantage in terms of career opportunities and are more likely to leave their current roles than men (34% vs. 20%). Workers who identify as being part of a minority group are nearly twice as likely to say they plan to quit in the next 12 months. Executives recognize these frustrations and acknowledge inadequate skill development and career advancement are key reasons for employee turnover. Despite this awareness, only one in four executives report their organizations offer sufficient face-to-face training programs.

Many organizations are using technology to solve these challenges. Most (64%) invest or plan to invest in AI or automation to improve employee productivity, efficiency, and engagement, but one in five executives admit their digital strategies to strengthen the workforce are ineffective. Employees are frustrated with these changes and wary of AI’s implications for their jobs and careers. While 73% of workers expect AI to impact their roles, only 36% feel positive about the technology, and only 39% say they have received AI-related training. In addition, workers cite a lack of autonomy of how they work, a lack of flexibility of where or when they work, and poor work-life balance as frustrations. While executives acknowledge this, almost half (48%) have mandated on-site working days.

“These findings are eye opening,” Peter Quigley, president and CEO of Kelly, said. “They stress the importance of developing long-term workforce strategies that focus on the right mix of permanent and contingent workers, effective skills and career development, meaningful employee engagement, and thoughtful implementation of AI tools that combine the best of human talent and technology.”

The Re:work Report offers insights into how the world’s leading organizations achieve this. For the first time, the report features a Workforce Resilience Index, which reveals how best-in-class businesses are building agile, capable, and inclusive teams that thrive in the age of AI. The Index identifies a group of Resilience Leaders (7% of companies surveyed) who report better results across both core business metrics and key people indicators compared to Mid-Market Performers (85%) and Laggards (8%).

  • 70% of Resilience Leaders report increased revenue over the past year vs. 35% of Laggards.
  • 61% of Resilience Leaders report improved profitability vs. 35% of Laggards.
  • 74% of Resilience Leaders report improved customer satisfaction vs. 37% of Laggards.
  • 79% of Resilience Leaders report improved ability to recruit talent vs. 27% of Laggards.
  • 72% of Resilience Leaders report improved retention vs. 34% of Laggards.

Workforce Resilience Leaders are most commonly based in Norway, Sweden, and Germany, the report finds. The survey identifies four best practices for building workforce resilience:

  1. Partnering with workforce solutions providers builds more agile and capable teams. 71% of Resilience Leaders work with third parties to develop their talent strategies vs. 35% of Laggards.
  2. Leveraging new technologies offers better visibility into talent demands. 64% of Resilience Leaders have a clear strategy for how they deploy AI to support human work vs. 22% of Laggards. 69% use technology to improve workforce analytics, monitor productivity, and support hybrid work.
  3. Tapping into diverse perspectives and providing flexible work arrangements empowers employees to contribute. 77% of Resilience Leaders say a C-suite leader has DEI responsibilities compared to only 5% of Laggards. 53% of Resilience Leaders offer flexible and hybrid work arrangements for employees at all levels vs. only 19% of Laggards.
  4. Being proactive about wellbeing and mental health improves performance. 54% of Resilience Leaders offer mental health resources compared to 28% of Laggards.

“The survey shows that a strategic focus on workforce agility, capability, and inclusion strengthens productivity, growth, and employee engagement,” Quigley said. “For those organizations struggling to build effective teams, our Workforce Resilience Index provides critical insights to take their talent strategies to the next level and a baseline for tracking their success over time.”

About the Survey
Kelly surveyed 1,500 senior executives, including C-suite leaders, board members, department heads, directors, and managers, as well as 4,000 workers at all levels across 13 countries and eight industry sectors in Q2 of 2024. The 13 countries include the United States, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Singapore. The eight industry sectors include Consumer Retail, Education, Energy, Engineering, Financial Services, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, and Technology. 35% of respondents were from organizations with 10,000+ employees; 35% were from organizations with 5,001-10,000 employees; and 30% were from organizations with 1,000-5,000 employees. Read the full report here.

About Kelly®
Kelly (Nasdaq: KELYA, KELYB) helps companies recruit and manage skilled workers and helps job seekers find great work. Since inventing the staffing industry in 1946, we have become experts in the many industries and local and global markets we serve. With a network of suppliers and partners, we connect jobs seekers around the world with meaningful work. Our suite of outsourcing and consulting services ensures companies have the people they need, when and where they are needed most. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, we empower businesses and individuals to access limitless opportunities in industries such as science, engineering, technology, education, manufacturing, retail, finance, and energy. Visit kellyservices.com.

Media Contact
Christian Taske

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