In today’s world, digital transformation is everywhere we look. Over the last 10 years alone, robotized Amazon warehouses, delivery drones, fast-speed trains and lab-grown organs have transformed our purchasing habits, transportation means and even bodies – making our lives easier, safer and more affordable.
At the same time, in the last 6 months, we have witnessed an avalanche of news about banks and retail businesses shutting down entire divisions or filing for bankruptcy for being either digital pioneers or late-comers to the online game.
All of these rapid changes have sparked waves of confusion and unrest amongst the industry, prompting some people to claim that we are witnessing a revolution that is causing the collapse of the business world as we know it.
…so what is actually happening?
Many economists agree that we have now entered the fourth industrial revolution, where technologies like the internet of things, robotics, VR and AI are reshaping most industries by enabling tech-savvy businesses to save time and money through work automation. Intelligently programmed algorithms now have the capacity to process large data sets in a much shorter time span than humans and at almost no cost, freeing workers of laborious, repetitive tasks and returning higher revenues for businesses.
Benefitting from this revolution are not only the business stakeholders but the world as a whole, as AI is predicted to add an additional £15 Trillion to the world’s GDP by 2050 according to PWC, a 17% increase from today.
One of the areas most heavily impacted by technology right now is the recruitment industry. Just like research and analysis, recruitment is a high-volume-data sector where algorithms can make a significant difference in productivity and accuracy, with the added bonus of reducing human error and bias.
Let’s look at the graduate recruitment market:
Today, most companies hire based on referrals from people they already know and trust through their internal networks. When this tactic does not deliver the expected results, they go out to the wider public. On average, graduate roles attract hundreds of applications for only one position, so the recruiters typically appeal to technology to help them make the best decisions.
Recruitment-specific software is helping companies not only to handle a large volume of applications with a quicker turnaround and lower cost but also ensure that the candidates they select are a better culture and personality fit for the business.
At the application stage, companies use technology that scans through CV’s and personal statements to find keywords that fit with the particular role description and company profile. This is why is it vital that applicants TAILOR their CVs to every application, ensuring that they are injecting the right keywords and mention achievements that speak to the job description.
Some employers are using technology to help candidates with their job search and have even built algorithms that help the applicants decide whether the opportunity is a good fit for themselves before inputting time and energy into the application (google Accenture/powerful minds). Some large companies go through thousands of unfinished applications and some of the tech also helps avoid this.
In determining candidates’ existing skills, tech-powered tests often help recruiters to cut through a large volume of applicants early on too. Psychometric testing (Accenture), gamification (JP Morgan), situational testing (PWC, Aldi), numerical testing (BDO), creativity testing (Redbull) are tools that large employers have digitalized to help them find the best candidates out of thousands of applicants.
Video interviews help overcome the logistical barriers of global recruiting and aid the employers in getting a sense of who the candidate is as a person. Some software can scan facial expressions to determine honesty or discomfort, while others listen for keywords before they pass applicants to the next stage.
Some companies have started relying on Chatbots for first-level interviewing to tick off compulsory boxes such as work authorization or minimum work experience, while others are using VR at the assessment centre stage to test their candidates’ competencies and skills in simulated situations, on the spot.
Considering all the points above, the best practice for graduates remains ensuring that they are well informed. Students should always stay up-to-date with the recruiters’ latest assessment tools (Glassdoor and Path Motion are great insight resources) and should try to gain success tips right from the source. For example, speaking to Hult alumni working for their target employer or arranging a coffee with one of the current employees through LinkedIn have proven to be highly successful strategies for other students in the past.
As the business world is becoming increasingly impacted by technology, it is important to prepare ourselves for new ways of working and in doing so, we need to start by asking the inevitable question:
What will the world of work look like 30 years from now?
No one has a definite answer, as some statistics point that 60% of the current 12-year-olds will do jobs that have not been defined or invented yet, but most experts agree on 5 main trends:
Say goodbye to the 9-5 in the same office and prepare to work for multiple employers at the same time, across different projects. Learn multi-tasking and team collaboration now.
If you’ve been dreaming of working for Deloitte from an exotic island, your dream may just come true. Time-management, team collaboration and video-conferencing software is making it easier and cheaper for people to work from anywhere in the world. Learn now how to store, share and find information collaboratively.
Purpose at work
In the future, you may choose your employer based not only on their mission and vision but your own. Brands are becoming more aligned with social causes and more transparent about their political allegiance. Start thinking now about your values and the causes you want to help your employer tackle.
As new technologies are being created, career success will depend on how fast you can learn to use them. Never stop learning.
Automation is not here to displace humans from the workforce but to enhance our capability to achieve extraordinary results, faster. Think of ways you can use technology to automate routine tasks right now. Play with tech.
The unprecedented growth and adoption of technology have so far brought the world significant benefits and they will undoubtedly continue to do so. As with every innovation, there will be losses and gains in the short and long term, but the current predictions about the future are optimistic.
As a current business student, you have an immense opportunity to learn right now as much as you can about the future of work and the technologies that are shaping it and become one of the pioneers of this field. The routes you could take are infinite. Think big!