Excerpted from an Indeed story by Kristy Threlkeld

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technology are both used to help businesses operate more efficiently. Recruiters and other human resources (HR) decision-makers are overwhelmingly optimistic about the role of AI in the future of hiring. But what do they think about the increasing adoption of automation, which includes tools that can typically follow predetermined rules and instructions but can’t make decisions like AI?

Harris Poll conducted a survey of more than 500 employers and 200 job seekers and recent job-switchers in the U.S. to find out what they think. While overall sentiments about automation are generally positive, they also found that employers don’t always see eye to eye on its impact or where to use it — with differences by business size.

“While ‘automation’ is often grouped with AI, it’s important to recognize their distinctions,” says John Fox, VP of Product at Indeed. “Automation spans a broad spectrum of capabilities, one of which is aimed at relieving people of manual tasks, allowing them to prioritize what truly matters — human connection.”

Here’s what employers need to know about how decision-makers are using automation in their hiring today, what they see as the biggest benefits and what parts of the hiring process should stay human-driven.

Employers Spend Significant Resources on Basic Hiring Tasks

Talent shortages topped the list of challenges employers face in today’s hiring market (cited by 33%), followed by screening and assessment (28%) and candidates aligning with business needs (28%). On average, employers are still spending nearly half (45%) their time on tasks associated with hiring activities, including two of the most challenging stages of the hiring process: candidate sourcing and assessment. 

Roughly 53% of employers say they spend at least six hours a week on candidate sourcing, and 22% of them spend more than 11 hours. Similarly, half of employers (50%) spend at least six hours a week on candidate assessment, and 15% say they dedicate more than 11 hours per week to the task.

Given the significant time investment, it’s no wonder employers welcome automation in hiring, as nearly nine in 10 (87%) view it as positive. In addition, 90% of employers agree that automating recruiting tasks and workflows could help them increase productivity, accelerate time-to-hire, reduce cost-per-hire and improve the overall candidate experience. 

Opinions vary between larger and smaller employers, too. Enterprise organizations are more likely to have extremely positive views (47%) about automation in the hiring process compared to their medium-sized counterparts (32%). Larger organizations were also more likely to agree with the stated benefits of automation: 93%, compared to 82% of medium-sized employers.

Nearly three in four employers (72%) say they currently use some form of automation in their hiring process. And sole decision makers — those who don’t share hiring responsibilities with anyone else —- were more likely to be current users (76%), compared to 59% of primary decision makers. 

Enhanced Efficiency Seen as the Greatest Benefit of Automation

A whopping 85% of employers feel that integrating automation in the hiring process has had a positive impact — and it’s fully 90% for those hiring for 50 or more open roles.

More than half of employers (52%) think the primary advantage of automation is efficiency, followed closely by time savings at 50%. From there, faster onboarding (43%), consistency in the hiring process (38%), reduced bias (37%) and data-driven insights (36%) round out the top perceived advantages. 

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