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Human Skillsets Will Not See a Diminished Role Amid AI Boom Finds HSBC

One of the biggest questions that has emerged this past year following the artificial intelligence (AI) boom is how secure are human jobs. There has been a growing fear that humans will be replaced by technology. Research from a new HSBC report suggests however that this will not be the case.

Barry O’Byrne, CEO, global commercial banking at HSBC
Barry O’Byrne, CEO, global commercial banking at HSBC

The report surveyed 2,900 business leaders across eight markets globally. Commenting on the findings, Barry O’Byrne, CEO, global commercial banking at HSBC said: “What our Digital Horizons report makes clear is that successful businesses will not see a diminished role for human skillsets. To remain competitive, businesses will need to harness new technology to empower teams to perform better, more efficiently and more creatively. This agility will require new ways of thinking and working, and different capabilities.”

Digital Horizons found that respondents plan to invest in their workforce to maximise the opportunities new technology will bring. Nearly nine in ten (86 per cent) are looking at how emerging technologies can help advance employee skillsets. Furthermore, eighty-three per cent are planning to re-train their workforce and 82 per cent are investing in new talent in response to rapid advances in technology.

Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory
Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory

Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, said: “Historically, advances in technology have reset economic and social paradigms. However, it is our ability as humans to collaborate and to understand how, why and where collaboration works best – through people-driven collaborative innovation networks. That allows us to spark innovation, direct growth, and harness talent.

“Technology determines the shape and velocity of change, but talent, and human collaboration, determine the direction and ethos of it. And long term, if businesses are to stay on top, and maintain their edge, they need to invest in the latter, and lease the former – not the other way around.”

A new era of cross-sector and cross-border collaboration

Collaboration has been identified by the HSBC Digital Horizons report as fundamental to business success in the coming 10 years. A large majority agree that more collaboration within their organisation (85 per cent); and with other players in their sector (84 per cent) will drive growth. But most business leaders also agree that collaboration outside their own sector (82 per cent), and beyond national borders, through international partnerships and networks (83 per cent), is key to success.

The report highlights the leading strategies businesses most favour to enable this new era of collaboration. The most favoured approaches include a greater focus on technology-driven, agile ways of working (favoured by 47 per cent). Meanwhile, 36 per cent believe embracing partnerships with smaller and more nimble industry entrants is important.

The research revealed four trends that will drive fundamental change and bring new opportunities for businesses through digitalisation over the next 10 years:

  1. Borderless Business – a new era championing a global outlook and networks where successful businesses adapt to embrace global talent, supply chains and relationships
  2. FLIT Organisations – the rise of organisations which focus on a flexible workforce, lean processes, innovative business models and tech-driven operations
  3. Inclusive Automation – a workplace where businesses focus on the positives and gains of AI and automation, enabling and upskilling talent to embrace this mindset
  4. Creative Edge – organisations that cultivate a culture that champions open-mindedness, independent thinking and innovation will gain the competitive edge in the market
Technology’s role in long-term success

Business leaders surveyed recognise that technology is central to growing their businesses over the next decade, highlighting their most important areas where technology will play a role as increasing revenue (27 per cent), improving customer service and experience (26 per cent) and reducing cost (26 per cent). Robotics and automation, augmented or virtual reality, machine learning, and generative AI were identified as key areas for investment and growth.

While business leaders acknowledged a lack of familiarity with some of technologies driving longer-term change – only 31 per cent of businesses globally are very familiar with robotics and automation, optical character recognition (26 per cent) and quantum computing (26 per cent) – the majority (86 per cent) feel confident in their ability to keep up with technology advancements over the next decade.

O’Byrne concluded: “New and emerging technologies present both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses around the world. To help leaders navigate this journey, our Digital Horizons report translates the major trends into actionable insights. As a result, it helps businesses to future-proof their operations and position themselves for growth.

“The report’s findings also confirm our belief that digital technology is a tool to empower individuals, not replace them. This reaffirms our commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our customers today and in the future, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of innovation.”


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