Singapore: Technology will disrupt 90% of HR roles in three to five years

Technology-enabled solutions, especially those using automation, will impact the majority of human resource (HR) roles in the near future.
By: | December 11, 2020

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Manpower and the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP), and conducted by Willis Towers Watson, analysed 27 job roles in HR and found that some roles are at a higher risk of being impacted than others depending on how much their job scopes and skills will be affected by the introduction of more automation.

The first group that would be most affected by technology would be eight jobs at the associate and executive levels, including those in performance and rewards, talent management and attraction, employee experience and relations, operations and technology, as well as learning and organisation development.

These jobs are most at risk as they are administrative in nature and can be displaced with advances in robotic process automation, machine learning and social robotics.  

The second group which will experience a medium level of impact will be 16 jobs at the manager and head levels. These are also in the same categories as those in the first group with the addition of the role of manager of HR business partner. 

These roles will be less impacted than the first group as they require skills in data analytics to support more strategic functions such as planning for and future-proofing talent experiences. 

The last group of three jobs expected to be least impacted are: head of talent management, head of HR business partner and manager of organisation development.

These roles require the least technology-related skills and will thus be least disrupted by automation. Nevertheless, the scope of these jobs will shift to focus more on driving business transformation and organisation change. 

The study also found that changes led by technology are creating new or emerging roles in HR in three categories: those that transform and digitalise HR (HR data analyst and head/director of technology); specialist roles (learning designer, employee onboarding specialist and talent intelligence analyst); and cross-functional roles (people strategist, head of talent enablement and head/director of organisation transformation). 

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In addition, the study identified three trends driving the transformation in HR technology: advent of intelligent automation; rising expectations for consumer-grade applications; and a shift from basic data analytics and reporting towards predictive analytics and modelling to provide insights for talent decisions. 

Singapore has about 48,000 HR professionals with most of them in the professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) category.