AI won’t displace workforce | Inquirer Business

AI won’t displace workforce

/ 02:12 AM January 07, 2024

Atul Harkisanka: AI won’t displace workforce

Atul Harkisanka—Contributed photo

Technology may reshape the world of work but humans are not likely to become obsolete.

In fact, Atul Harkisanka, head of growth markets and LinkedIn’s country lead for the Philippines, says, “The professionals who will make up the next billion members on LinkedIn will navigate a world of work that is more human than before, where soft skills like communication and problem-solving will become increasingly prized alongside AI expertise.”


The technology-driven evolution will make people skills more essential to individual success and people-to-people collaboration for company success. “It allows us to do more fulfilling work efficiently and effectively with others,” Harkisanka adds. This may be why workers themselves do not seem threatened by new technologies.


LinkedIn research, Harkisanka reports, found that people saw artificial intelligence (AI) and/or generative AI (GAI) as an “invisible teammate” that would help them with their work.

But over three-quarters of professionals in the Philippines (76 percent) do believe AI will cause a “significant” change in their jobs. The same LinkedIn research found that more than half (55 percent) of the local workforce already use GAI.

AI is expected to accelerate workforce learning and heighten the importance of skills. Harkisanka says jobs are changing quickly, and a skills-first mindset is the best way to stay on top of or get ahead of the changes.

“As AI automates tasks, the importance of soft skills is also rising. LinkedIn data show that professionals in the Philippines think skills like problem-solving (77 percent), creativity (77 percent) and communication (76 percent) will become more critical as AI tools become more widely used at work,” Harkisanka stresses.

In an environment constantly in flux because of new technologies, LinkedIn expects learning to become increasingly flexible and accessible.

As Harkisanka sees it, “In many ways, the future of work is becoming intertwined with the future of learning. Companies will do more and more to empower employees to acquire new skills and certifications while on the job, enhancing their value in the workforce.”


Digital natives

Not surprisingly, the most enthusiastic about AI are Gen Zs and millennials. These younger workers want to work for companies whose values align with their own and prioritize continuous learning, engagement, contribution and flexibility. They are more likely to stay with companies embracing new technologies like AI.

Harkisanka says new entrants to the workforce believe AI will help them progress in their careers. A LinkedIn survey found that 52 percent of millennials and 48 percent of Gen Zs in the Asia-Pacific believe AI would help move their career forward by providing faster access to knowledge and insights.

They also may have the right attitude to thrive in new workplaces. As Harkisanka notes, those who will be most successful at work in the age of AI will have to be agile. “They should embrace growth as a virtuous cycle: your growth, through learning and development, fuels company growth while company growth, through innovations in business strategies and cross-functional collaboration, fuels your growth.”

AI’s ability to facilitate collaboration and communication will help enhance and strengthen work setups that emerged after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Hybrid work that lets people work at the office and/or from home, which is increasingly becoming an expectation among workers, now can be done more seamlessly and effectively with technological advances.

Harkisanka says, “As AI can dismantle barriers in language and context, it holds the promise of facilitating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion will likely excel in attracting and retaining top talent from all over the globe.”

LinkedIn’s country lead in the Philippines adds, “AI will facilitate collaboration and bridge communication gaps across cultures, geographies and industries. It allows us to enhance collaboration by freeing time and breaking down barriers that hinder personal connections and collaboration, such as language, knowledge and skills differences.”

Skills-first market

Employers appear to support employees’ training and development, protect their jobs and enable them to advance their careers by learning new skills. Over half (55 percent) of employees surveyed by LinkedIn reported that their workplaces had already introduced guidelines or training plans for integrating AI into their day-to-day work.

Upskilling, Harkisanka says, is critical, and soft skills will be essential in the future world of work shaped by AI. Professionals, far from fearing AI, believe the technology will boost their access to proper knowledge and skill sets they need for work and spotlight the irreplaceable value of their human skills in career advancement.

With the exponential growth of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network that recently hit 1 billion members globally, some 11 million in the Philippines, Harkisanka assures the LinkedIn community that the platform is taking every precaution to keep the platform safe from people who may try to use AI to cause mischief.

LinkedIn was founded with a clear vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, he says. To protect the integrity of the platform and sustain its members’ confidence, he says, “We use technology and teams of experts to find and remove the vast majority of scams and fake accounts before you see them. Our automated defenses removed 99.6 percent of detected spam and scams, and 99.7 percent of detected fake accounts were blocked before members reported them.”

He adds, “We’ve rolled out new features like LinkedIn Verifications to help you feel confident that the people and opportunities you come across are authentic.” AI, he notes, has enormous potential to expand access to opportunity and ultimately positively transform the world of work but it must be managed responsibly.

“In 2023, we are seeing transformative advances in AI that have the potential to help us accelerate our progress toward that vision,” Harkisanka says. LinkedIn has an important role as a place where talent and opportunity continue to meet.

“We help jobseekers connect to opportunity and companies connect to talent,” Harkisanka says and adds, “What’s unique about LinkedIn is that it’s not content creation for the sake of entertainment. It’s about the creation of economic opportunity. We also help learners keep their skills up to date with LinkedIn Learning.”

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Through the years, LinkedIn has provided a unique view of the economy through a skills-first lens. Harkisanka says, “In this environment of constant change, we’re committed to creating a skills-first labor market that matches businesses and people based on skills, ushering in a world of work that is more dynamic, equitable and resilient.”

TAGS: artificial intelligence (AI), workplace

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