Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) together with Willis Towers Watson has released a report on the future of human resources and found that several business roles done by human resource (HR) managers are at risk of being taken over by robots.
The study finds that 24 out of 27 HR roles that were analyzed will be impacted by technology in the next three to five years.
Eight lower level HR positions, in areas such as talent management, performance and rewards, as well as organisation development will be the most severely affected and are at risk of being replaced. This is because these HR tasks are administrative in nature and can be automated with advances in robotic process automation, machine learning and social robotics.
The remaining 16 HR jobs, which are management level job positions, will be augmented by technology and require skills in areas such as data analytics. Only three jobs will see minimal impact from automation. These are the head of talent management, HR business partner and manager of organisation development.
Technology is not necessarily a negative in HR, and a variety of technological advancements will lead to the creation of new roles in HR that are highly specialised, such as a HR data analysts.
Towers Watson said in its report that, the study highlights the need for HR to reinvent itself by driving business transformation; and that leaders in the field also need to recognize the need for new capabilities in HR, such as the use of predictive analytics.
"In the long term, people analytics will be a key skill required by all roles in HR rather than being a dedicated role."
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Manpower, Zaqy Mohamad, commented on the report and stated, “Investing in and adopting technology in HR will increase efficiency and allow HR to deliver "seamless and cutting-edge" services and experiences more effectively. This will enable HR to pursue more strategic high-value activities and unlock value creation for the business."
Senior Minister Zaqy was speaking at the People Behind People Forum where he announced the study's findings. He added that the MOM will continue to support businesses in strengthening their HR capabilities and helping HR professionals gain new skills to remain relevant.
He added that the IHRP is also developing training courses for HR professionals to pick up skills to prepare for the digital transformation of the industry.
Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat, who also spoke at the forum, said that HR professionals in Singapore have been the unseen heroes in keeping workers safe and organisations going during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that HR professionals will have an even more important role to play, as Covid-19 has accelerated business transformation.
In his speech, Mr Zaqy urged businesses and HR leaders to invest in improving HR productivity by adopting technology and supporting skills development.
"HR professionals, too, need to step up and take ownership of their own skills development and adopt a growth mindset in embracing digitalization," he said.