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Will artificial intelligence become a regular part of human resources?

Fifty-five percent of HR managers say automation will be the norm in the next 5 years

Posted June 16, 2017

Artificial intelligence and automation will have a major impact on human resources and employment over the next few years, according to new CareerBuilder research. Thirteen percent of human resource managers are already seeing evidence of artificial intelligence (AI) becoming a regular part of HR, and 55 percent say it will be the norm in the next five years.

While the majority of HR managers said the thought of AI in HR does not make them nervous, 35 percent said it does. Still, only 7 percent of HR managers say they think a robot could do their job.

Manual data input causes wasted time and productivity, errors

HR managers who do not fully automate say they lose an average of 14 hours a week manually completing tasks that could be automated; 28 percent waste 20 hours or more, 11 percent spend 30 hours or more.

Below is a breakdown of the HR functions that HR managers say are currently fully automated, partially automated or not automated at all.

HR function Fully automated Partially automated Not automated
Payroll 50 percent 42 percent 7 percent
Background checks/drug testing 39 percent 35 percent 21 percent
Applicant tracking 38 percent 35 percent 21 percent
Benefits administration 34 percent 49 percent 13 percent
Distributing job postings to different websites 30 percent 36 percent 28 percent
Compliance 25 percent 45 percent 27 percent
Performance management 24 percent 38 percent 33 percent
Sourcing job candidates 20 percent 47 percent 25 percent
Predictive assessments 20 percent 24 percent 25 percent
Training/learning 18 percent 47 percent 28 percent
Employee referrals 16 percent 29 percent 45 percent
Onboarding 15 percent 56 percent 26 percent


The survey found that a lack of HR automation can have a negative ripple effect on a business. HR managers who do not fully automate say manual processes have led to:

  • Lower productivity: 41 percent
  • More errors: 40 percent
  • Higher costs: 35 percent
  • Poor candidate experience: 18 percent
  • Poor employee experience: 17 percent
  • Less engagement: 17 percent
  • Poor hiring manager experience: 11 percent

Survey methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 231 human resource managers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 16 and March 9, 2017. Percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions. With a pure probability sample of 231, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling errors of +/- 6.45 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

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