The future of work is here: How AI is transforming India’s workplaces

In just a short span of a few months, AI has upended long-standing business practices and birthed new industries such as AI-driven diagnostics and treatment in Healthcare, opening up doors for personalised learning in the Education sector, detecting trends with more precision in FinTech and even self-driving cars in Automotives. AI is not just influencing how people work but also changing how organisations hire, manage and develop talent, scripting an entirely new future of work that is AI-driven. To prepare for the future, this emergence of AI users in the workforce and the perspectives of leaders on the subject require a closer inspection. 

To understand the impact, challenges and potential of AI adoption in the Indian workforce, Microsoft and LinkedIn recently released the 2024 Work Trend Index report titled AI at Work Is Here. Now Comes the Hard Part. Based on a survey of 31,000 people in 31 countries, the report sheds light on how AI influences contemporary labour and hiring trends on LinkedIn. This article is based on the top findings of the report.

AI adoption in India: Challenges and opportunities

Despite the common sentiment about AI taking over jobs, 92% of India’s knowledge workers now use AI at work, notably higher than the global average of 75%. This indicates employee confidence in AI’s ability to save time, enhance creativity and increase focus. Moreover, 91% of leaders in India think that their organisations must adopt AI to stay competitive, but  54% are concerned that their organisation lacks a plan and vision to implement AI tools and technology. It’s time to start thinking about AI from an implementation standpoint. This might involve developing a clear strategy, reskilling the workforce, and fostering a culture of collaboration between humans and AI. 

However, at the same time, this overall disconnect between expectations and implementations isn’t holding the workforce back, as 72% of India’s AI users are bringing their own AI tools to work (BYOAI), reflecting a mindset willing to embrace AI for higher productivity and efficiency, regardless of whether employers provide the tools. These findings indicate that the positive AI sentiment in India’s workforce allows organisations and leaders to channel this momentum into ROI.

AI’s Impact on talent acquisition and development

AI tools and skills are playing a pivotal role in India’s talent acquisition and development, with 80% of employers saying that they prioritise AI skills over experience when hiring and 75% stating that they wouldn’t hire someone lacking in AI skills (higher than the global average of 66%). Leaders are also more likely to provide AI-specific training to employees who demonstrate power-user tendencies, indicating that organisations that empower employees with AI tools and training will attract the best talent, and professionals who skill up in AI will have the edge.

This trend also reflects the increase in the number of job posts mentioning AI (up 17%). As of late last year, there has been a 142x increase globally in LinkedIn members adding AI skills like Copilot and ChatGPT to their profiles and a 160% increase in non-technical professionals using LinkedIn Learning courses to build their AI aptitude. However, AI’s importance in hiring is not limited to skills only, as technology has transformed every step of the recruitment process to make it more efficient. From creating instant job descriptions, parsing resumes, conducting skills assessments, screening candidates and scheduling interviews – AI is doing it all. Allowing HR pros to focus on the human elements of hiring and developing talent.

When discussing LinkedIn’s Recruiter AI-powered features, (Retd.) Capt. Shantanu Chakravorty, Chief Learning Officer, Suzlon Group shared how the tools utilise natural language processing. When a hiring manager provides a desired candidate profile, including qualities, experience, and minimum work tenure (e.g., 2-3 years), the AI tool automatically translates this description into search criteria. The system then identifies potential candidates beyond the hiring manager’s initial scope. A key feature is the ability to identify candidates who have “shown interest,” such as those who have inquired about the company or a similar role. 

LinkedIn’s AI Recruiter also allows filtering based on demographics, enabling targeted searches for specific markets like Pune, Mumbai, or global like Africa. By leveraging LinkedIn data, organisations can filter candidates without alerting competitors. This empowers hiring managers to act as a trusted advisor to leadership. For instance, if the leadership team desires to enter a new market, the system can reveal factors like longer incubation periods or higher compensation requirements. This information allows the manager to advise leadership on adjusting business metrics for the new market. AI-powered insights gleaned from continuous data refreshes, will undoubtedly play a critical role to drive informed decision-making within the talent acquisition process.

Success stories: AI in action

Analysing the impact of LinkedIn’s AI-powered Coach in LinkedIn Learning is another great entry point to understand just how radically the learning and development process has evolved. Through personalised guidance, feedback and recommendations, every professional today can access a hyper-personalised learning journey with readily available tools and resources. Nuvoco University, the learning platform of Nuvoco Vistas Corp Ltd., is already witnessing the benefits of integrating AI with learning. They had launched AI-powered coaching across their organisation of around 4000 employees with individualised emails to each one of them. This was followed up by numerous awareness campaigns as well as offering learning recommendations to their employees.

It’s not surprising then that more than 25% of Nuvoco’s workforce is using the ‘Recommendations’ feature in  LinkedIn Learning to choose a career goal and grow. Many have benefitted from this feature as it prepared them for taking up new cross-functional roles.

As a result, there has been a massive impact in how employees are learning at Nuvoco. There have been several success stories where employees shared how this has championed their career transformation and empowered them to gain the necessary and in-demand skills for their jobs. Even for something as common as meetings, this tool is often used right before to gain new insights and ignite insightful conversations.

However, when it comes to also skilling to succeed with AI at the workplace, a strategic balance of hard and soft skills becomes important. Ravi Hemnani, Vice President of HR & Head of Talent and Transformation at Nuvoco Vistas Corp Ltd., rightly shares, “Soft skills have become as important as hard skills because they are necessary for humans to succeed in the workplace in the age of AI. The integration of these skills with technical knowledge is critical for the future of work.”

Capt. Shantanu of Suzlon Group also shares, “We have been using LinkedIn’s AI-powered coach by giving similar inputs on descriptors, expectations, behaviours and scenarios such as, ‘Can you now recommend some courses from the LinkedIn Learning catalogue that I can align as recommendations for my different people managers?’ Now, through the platform I am using, I can share these recommendations and create the change. It would have taken a year to offer such targeted courses earlier, and AI helps cut down on the time. But the thinking behind such an implementation has to be human.”

Suzlon’s commitment to a future-proof workforce is evident in their recent internal launch of LinkedIn Learning’s AI-powered coach feature. This initiative, reaching over 6,000 employees during their company-wide event, highlights strong leadership support. The year-and-a-half implementation reflects their focus on fostering adaptability within their workforce. Suzlon believes LinkedIn will play a key role in this, extending the program to both full-time and contract workers. Capt. Shantanu anticipates it will address potential language barriers and, with its deep integration capabilities, introduce new and relevant courses.

The future is undeniably AI-driven, and leaders across organisations may struggle with the vision, knowledge, and action plan to capitalise on its benefits. However with advanced hiring and learning tools easily accessible on platforms like LinkedIn, it is imperative for managers, employers, and professionals to further their understanding of how AI can support ongoing business processes. Click here to learn more about AI features in  LinkedIn Learning and LinkedIn Recruiter.

You can also click here to upskill your workforce for the future with LinkedIn Learning’s AI courses unlocked for free until 31 July 2024

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