While more than a third (36 per cent) of Canadian employers estimate artificial intelligence will increase employee productivity by more than 30 per cent, 61 per cent believe the technology is advancing faster than they can retain workers, according to a new survey by Mercer Canada.

The survey — which polled more than 800 executives, 1,900 human resources leaders and 9,400 employees from around the globe — found three-quarters (74 per cent) of executives said they’re concerned about their talent’s ability to pivot and fewer than a third (28 per cent) of HR leaders said they’re very confident they can make human-machine teaming a success.

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“AI can help to unlock employee potential but it’s important to be transparent about the changes it may bring and the opportunities it will create,” said Christie Rall, a partner at Mercer, in a press release. “In Canada and right around the world, there’s a real need to address skilling, reskilling and to design digitally enabled ways of working based on AI. Being proactive in this space will be key to unlocking productivity and ensuring [employers are] fit for the future.”

More than half (57 per cent) of Canadian executives said they’re concerned their company isn’t doing enough to inspire workers to adopt new technologies and 55 per cent of Canadian HR leaders (compared to 67 per cent globally) are concerned they’ve implemented new technology solutions without transforming work.

Nearly all (96 per cent) employers said they’re planning some HR functional redesign this year, focused on delivering across departments and leading digital ways of working.

While employee experience is top priority among global HR leaders, the survey found there’s room for improvement. Just 42 per cent of Canadian HR leaders said women and minorities are well represented on their organization’s leadership team and just 14 per cent said their recent diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts have increased retention of key diversity groups.

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