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Press Release

Almost 90% of HR job roles today will be impacted by technology in three to five years

December 10, 2020

Technology will disrupt the current state of HR and reinvent HR’s roles in the future to drive business transformation and productivity
Work Transformation

SINGAPORE, 10 December 2020 — A new study by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, and commissioned by the Institute for Human Resource Professionals and Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, released today reveals that 90% of the human resources (HR) job roles will be impacted by technology in three to five years’ time. The study on the Impact of Technology on HR jobs and skills draws upon a series of workshops and 60 interviews conducted with more than 230 business leaders and HR professionals for their views on the type of technologies impacting HR, their impact on HR functions, automation potential of HR processes, as well as new skills required.

“With the pandemic affecting business operations and profitability, more organisations are beginning to adopt technology to reinvent jobs and tasks, as well as use a wider talent ecosystem to deliver work in a cost-effective way. Jobs are being redesigned to deliver higher value-add to manage economic pressures, demographic shifts and workforce expectation for purposeful work. To deliver on these expectations, the HR function in an organisation plays an important role and will need to embrace technology on a large scale to enable businesses to transform,” said Vidisha Mehta, Managing Director and Head of Talent & Rewards, Singapore, Willis Towers Watson.

As technology trends become more prevalent, the HR function across industries and organisations of different sizes and stages of growth will be impacted. However, the magnitude and pace of change depends on the complexity of each organisation’s operations including, size, number of countries that the organisation operates in and so on, as well as the maturity of its HR function. At the same time, the adoption of HR technology will also enable the HR function to deliver more seamless and cutting-edge employee-centric services and experiences, as well as high strategic value to businesses.

“This study confirms a seismic shift in the HR landscape as we know it today. HR professionals need to acquire the skills to grasp technologies that will enable them to develop and implement innovative people practices for their organisations. Digital acumen will also enable HR to understand how technical skills fit into the workplace and therefore better support organisations that embark on digitalisation to unlock greater business value. HR can lead the way to evaluate the many emerging options for getting work done both within and outside HR, and determine how best to combine human talent and automation,” said Mayank Parekh, CEO of Institute for Human Resource Professionals.

The study identifies three key trends driving HR technology transformation and will significantly change the expectations that business stakeholders have from HR. These include:

  • Advent of intelligent automation.
  • Rising expectations of employees for consumer-grade applications.
  • Shift from basic data analytics and reporting towards predictive analytics and modelling to provide insights for talent decisions.

“There are about 48,000 HR professionals in Singapore and majority are in PMET roles. As the HR functions transform, HR jobs will be redefined. New skills will be required to perform them. Our study shows that most of the 27 representative HR roles from the Skills Framework for HR which we analysed will see significant changes to the tasks within each job, due to the availability of technology-enabled solutions. And 90% of the jobs will experience a medium to high level of impact due to technology,” said Vidisha.

In the long term, technology will bring both opportunities and challenges to the HR sector. The study highlighted five key themes that will transform the way HR will work in the future:

  • Enhance jobs and drive transformation in organisations: The HR team in an organisation needs to enhance jobs through job redesign, lead strategic workforce planning, and be the internal change champion to drive organisation transformation.
  • Equip workforce with future skills: HR leaders must identify emerging skills and skill gaps to drive re-skilling / upskilling of the workforce.
  • Build consumer-grade experiences: HR leaders need to design talent journeys across the talent lifecycle and leverage technology to deliver consumer-grade experiences for employees.
  • Digitalise HR: HR leaders needs to develop an integrated HR technology roadmap to drive implementation of seamless and effective delivery of HR processes.
  • Drive data-based decision making: The HR function needs to drive data-based decision making across HR and business functions for more robust talent related decisions

“The HR sector in Singapore is in a unique position today to grow its capabilities to drive business transformation. It also needs to focus on its own transformation, and HR practitioners to reskill and upskill to enable these changes. The pandemic has accelerated workforce transformation and has provided an opportunity in this time of crisis for HR professionals to step up to what we’ve always wanted. A seat at the executive table and the means to shape the future of work,” added Vidisha.

In addition to Singapore, the research also includes countries such as the US, UK and Sweden as part of the HR industry landscape scan. The scan was conducted to provide insights on the potential evolution and future technology adoption for HR in Singapore. The study identified emerging trends in HR through the analysis of over 2.5 million professional profiles, more than 180,000 job postings and 2.5 million job transitions across Singapore and the reference countries.

The report on the Study on the Impact of Technology on Human Resources Jobs & Skills is available for download here.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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