Report: AI to Eliminate Thousands of Federal HR Positions

In an op-ed posted to Axios, Partnership for Public Service President and CEO Max Steier notes that “The adoption of AI technologies over the coming decade is likely to eliminate work, and in some cases entire jobs, currently being done by more than 130,000 federal agency employees in more than 80 occupations.”

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Note the estimate for 10,000 fewer human resources positions in the U.S. government. The tasks ceded to computers and software will largely be the ones HR is trying to shed anyway, especially processing forms, screening applications and resumes, and answering routine questions.

The numbers come out of the Feb. 27, 2019, Partnership report More Than Meets AI, which strikes a hopeful note in stating, “AI could enable federal employees to focus on core responsibilities related to their agencies’ missions and spend fewer hours on administrative duties. They are likely to have more time to deliver services, interact with customers and perform other mission-related tasks.”

Realizing those benefits will require developing new skills and abilities. Citing a separate report issued by the World Economic Forum in January of this year, Axios reported that “the U.S. government and private companies will need to pay $34 billion to reskill 1.4 million workers who may lose their jobs to automation in the coming years.”

This shift in training and development has already begun. Among 1,500 U.S. employers surveyed by Manpower during 2018, 76 percent indicated that they have plans in place to upskill their workforce by 2020. Just 28 percent of employers had digital and automation transition plans in 2011.