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The State of the Global IT World of Work in 2024

As I speak with our IT clients around the world, it reinforces the reality that this is a truly dynamic period of change. This was most certainly the case as I attended VivaTech—the largest tech trade show in Europe—a few weeks ago. Artificial Intelligence (AI) was center stage at VivaTech as key leaders including our CEO weighed in on the implications.

"AI advances hold great promise to boost productivity, offer more meaningful work, and enhance human interactions," said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup Chairman & CEO. "To ensure this promise benefits the many, not the few, we must address skills gaps that currently exist and support people to develop in their careers and transition to new roles. Now is the time to prioritize upskilling, reskilling, and job redesign to build a brighter future of work."

This impact on the future of work will be particularly relevant for every organization. We are already seeing this in our global research. Each quarter, ManpowerGroup surveys more than 40,000 employers in 42 countries to measure future hiring intentions and future of work trends. We recently asked this same group of employers to share their outlook on the future impact of these technologies on the world of work.

AI Research Key Findings

    • Hiring Expected to Grow: More than half (55%) of employers expect to increase headcount due to AI and machine learning over the next two years, while less than one in four (24%) believe there will be no impact. Just 18% anticipate the technology will lead to staffing decreases.
    • Adoption Accelerates: Nearly half (48%) of companies have already adopted AI, including generative conversational AI, a 13% increase compared to responses one year ago (35%).
    • Optimism Varies by Seniority: Employers reveal that AI optimism varies by seniority, with senior leaders (69%) being the most optimistic and factory floor and frontline workers (57%) being the least optimistic.
    • Anticipated Business Impact: When asked to predict the future impact of AI and machine learning at their organization, more than seven in ten (72%) anticipate AI will enhance overall business performance, with 70% expecting it to facilitate upskilling, reskilling, as well as employee training.
    • Top Adoption Challenges: Respondents cited high costs (33%), concerns about privacy and regulations (31%), and lack of employees with AI skills (31%) as among the top challenges in AI adoption.

This is in line with many of the conversations I have recently had with clients in the IT sector. There is optimism about the business impact despite lingering concerns about costs, risk management (e.g., ethical use or government regulation), and skills gaps. We explore this research in more detail in a new Experis report about building a people-first strategy for AI workforce productivity.

However, I also believe it is very important now for IT business leaders to look beyond the current hype surrounding AI and remember there are many other innovations which will impact the future of work in IT.

Historic legislation in the U.S. and Europe is powering a dramatic transformation of the semiconductor industry as countries try to reduce dependence on production in Asia. Advances in quantum computing and increasing cloud adoption offer the potential to unlock incredible capabilities for businesses at the same time they elevate already unprecedented cybersecurity threats around the world. At the same time, we are only beginning to apply these innovations to massive global challenges such as green business transformation and the future of medicine.

We examine the impact of trends such as these in our new 2024 IT World of Work Outlook report. Keep in mind this is all happening as 76% of IT employers around the world say they are still struggling to find the skilled talent they need. My personal takeaway is that these complex times might require a “back to basics” approach within the IT sector. I believe the following opportunities we identified in this research do a good job of pointing to some immediately actionable opportunities for employers.  opportunities for employers.

Top IT Workforce Opportunities in 2024

    • Skills-Based Hiring: The growing importance of in-demand tech skills is increasing the popularity of skills-based hiring and creating opportunities for a greater share of the workforce to transition into more skilled technical roles.
    • Building Better: As the cliché goes, necessity is the mother of all invention. IT leaders know talent scarcity is the new normal and efforts to rapidly upskill and reskill a greater share of the workforce are accelerating.
    • AI Assistance: It is important to remember we are still in the early days of AI and ML adoption. As adoption grows, so do opportunities for workers to use these powerful tools to make their jobs easier.
    • Governments Go All In: Governments around the world are making significant investments in building up their local tech industries, creating new opportunities for skilled talent around the world as industry leaders build more resilient supply chains. Now is the time for employers to capitalize on this momentum.
    • Accelerating Innovation: What can this unprecedented computing power do for the future of medicine, mobility, sustainability, space exploration, and business? If government and business leaders can overcome the ethical challenges to responsibly harness the power of this technology, IT will remain at the cutting edge of a brighter future.

Despite these significant opportunities, I work with clients in this sector closely enough to acknowledge it’s not an easy business environment out there and the challenges—particularly for IT— are not going away anytime soon. This is why I believe it’s so critically important to maintain a realist’s perspective of controlling what you can control, focusing on your people, and finding the right business partners to help you mitigate the risks which will always come as a natural consequence of working in the business of IT innovation.

About the Author

Carolyn Balkin is a Vice President and General Manager at ManpowerGroup, a global leader in workforce solutions and human resources services. She oversees the global sales strategy and operations for the IT industry, helping clients navigate the rapidly changing world of work and talent. She has over 10 years of experience in the staffing and consulting sector, with a focus on delivering innovative and customized solutions for complex business challenges. Prior to joining ManpowerGroup in 2016, Carolyn was a Global Senior Director of Commercial Services at FIS Global, a leading provider of technology solutions for the financial services industry. She led a team of sales professionals across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, driving revenue growth and customer satisfaction. She also held various leadership roles at Experis and Manpower, where she managed strategic accounts and developed new business opportunities. Carolyn holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Bonaventure University. She is passionate about empowering people and organizations to achieve their full potential through learning, development, and career advancement. She is also an active member of several industry associations and networks, such as Women in Technology International (WITI) and the Society for Information Management (SIM). Carolyn lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband and two children. She enjoys traveling, reading, and skiing in her spare time.

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