New York, May 1, 2023…At a time when society is hotly debating AI’s opportunities and risks, most HR leaders expect artificial intelligence (AI) to help—not hurt—their role.
Indeed, 65 percent of Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) expect AI to have a positive impact on the HR function over the next two years. That’s according to The Conference Board CHRO Confidence Index for the second quarter of 2023.
The survey also found that CHROs are increasingly confident about hiring. Just over half (51 percent) expect hiring to increase in the next six months—up from 42 percent in Q1. And despite the economic downturn, only 15 percent of CHROs expect layoffs in the next six months. Instead, CHROs are taking short-term measures to address the slower-growth environment, including eliminating travel, only hiring for critical positions, and reducing or delaying employee development opportunities.
Overall, CHRO confidence remains relatively unchanged at 58, up slightly from 57 in Q1 2023. (A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses).
This marks the second quarterly measure of CHRO Confidence from The Conference Board. A total of 130 CHROs participated in the survey, which was fielded from April 3 through April 17. Key findings include:
Half of CHROs expect hiring to increase—an increase from Q1.
- 51 percent of CHROs expect hiring to increase within the next six months.
- That’s up from 42 percent in Q1 2023.
CHROs expect difficulty retaining staff.
- Only 34 percent expect employee retention to increase over the next six months.
- That’s down from 45 percent in Q1.
Nearly half of CHROs say employee engagement is increasing.
- As in Q1, 45 percent of CHROs report that employee engagement has increased in the last 6 months and 14 percent report a decrease.
- In a February 2023 survey of 1,600 employees, however, 30 percent reported a decrease in employee engagement.
A majority of CHROs expect AI to have a positive business impact.
- 65 percent believe artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on the human capital function within the next two years.
CHROs are taking short-term measures to address the economic downturn.
- 42 percent are eliminating non-business-critical travel.
- 36 percent are freezing all but critical position hiring.
- 22 percent are reducing or delaying employee development opportunities.
- 15 percent are conducting layoffs.
“Over the past few years, acute labor shortages have taken the challenge of hiring workers to a whole new level,” said Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “This may be why, despite a weakening economic environment, CHROs are thinking twice before resorting to layoffs. Indeed, our survey results reveal that CHROs are focused on shorter-term actions to address the economic downturn, which also reflects our forecast that the recession will be short and shallow.”
More than a third of CHROs believe employee trust in leadership is increasing.
- 36 percent say the level of trust employees have for leadership has increased in the past six months.
- 42 percent say trust has remained unchanged.
- 23 percent say trust has decreased.