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British jobseekers are starting to see robots as career coaches rather than competition for roles, according to a new study commissioned by the world’s largest job site, Indeed. ‘The Rise of AI-driven Hiring’ study released today identified that nearly one in three (30%) jobseekers would be happy to take advice from a robot and think it would improve their chances of finding a job.

Despite growing suspicion around automation in the workplace, the report shows that the majority (58%) of jobseekers are confident their role will never be replaced by robots or automated technology. Meanwhile, a quarter (27%) of people have some concern that their role might be automated in the future.

Far from feeling threatened, people are happy to turn to robots for help progressing their careers. More than a third (35%) of people would be comfortable with robots assisting them with their job search – more popular than seeing these new technologies being used for self-driving cars or for news reporting.

Top five tasks people are most comfortable with being automated*:

1.          Job search assistance
2.          News reporting
3.          Healthcare support
4.          Finance management
5.          Driving vehicles

Overcoming bias, better searches and personalisation

The study attributes this enthusiasm for artificial intelligence (AI) and “smart career coaches” to its ability to help overcome the common challenges facing jobseekers today.

Firstly, AI is rebuilding candidates’ confidence in the recruitment process by helping to remove discrimination and bias – reported to affect almost half (48%) of job seekers and significantly more Millennials than other age groups. The study shows more than a third (35%) of people think AI will help remove bias from the recruitment process and make it fairer.

For younger jobseekers, there’s an even greater appetite to see robots play a role. Half of (48%) those under 35 believe that automation will help make recruitment less biased and as many as a third (36%) think removing humans from the process entirely will solve the problem.

Secondly, these new technologies are helping those candidates who currently find job searches too overwhelming and time consuming. Almost half (43%) of applicants report that there is too much choice and more than a third (38%) say recruitment processes are too long and take up too much time. Algorithms and automation can simplify the process and refine millions of jobs based on experience, location and skills, giving jobseekers back the time to make human connections with the recruiter, management and future co-workers.

Finally, it is making job searches more effective. With 41% of jobseekers reporting that roles they were presented with were not relevant or tailored to their experience, artificial intelligence is able to use data sets to produce a more personalised shortlist for searchers. AI can clearly bring jobseeker and employer together, but making the decision on whether the fit is right remains an inherently human decision.

Raj Mukherjee, Senior Vice President of Product at global job site Indeed, commented: “Far from people fearing robots and automation, this study shows that there’s a real enthusiasm among jobseekers to turn to robots to progress their careers – whether receiving careers advice or help finding the right role.

“With new challenges facing the UK’s labour market, equipping individuals the best chances for finding the right jobs is the Holy Grail of recruiting. More data available to both applicants and employers leads to better matches, and helps eliminate human bias. AI-powered technology gives recruiters back the time to make human connections, transforms the jobseeker experience and ultimately, helps match talent to roles as Britain tries to plug its skills gap.”