– As the European labor market stifles competitiveness, employers compete to hire AI-ready talent

BRUSSELS, Oct. 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A new report from The Conference Board reveals early signs of a race among European employers to hire AI-ready talent as companies face a slowing economy, a market booming labor and declining productivity. The report, A Hot Labor Market in a Chilling Economy, details a dramatic increase in demand for human-based cognitive skills over the past twelve months.

European employers are increasingly looking for skills such as curiosity, teamwork, adaptability and communication: “Willingness to learn” saw a 61 percent increase in demand between Q2 2022 and Q2 2023, followed by “collaboration in teams and networks” (49 percent), according to recent data analyzed by The Conference Board. These skills are key to taking advantage of the opportunities that AI offers.

“The data suggests that employers are pinning their hopes on recruiting workers who can take advantage of recent advances in AI to overcome the broader challenges they face in the European labor market,” said Sara Murray, international managing director of The Conference. Board.

“As our report highlights, labor productivity has stagnated over the past three years, while worker shortages are driving up costs for businesses and putting pressure on European competitiveness. In this environment, it is not surprising that employers are seeking to exploit “the productivity gains that AI promises. However, employers should be aware that the impact is likely to vary by sector and industry.”

Among the report’s highlights:

European employers continue to add staff, despite the economic slowdown:

Hours worked per employee remain nearly two percentage points below pre-pandemic levels. Three factors are driving this trend:

Divergent labor trends in Germany and France spell trouble for Europe’s economic prospects:

“Employers have multiple strategies available to address the difficult conditions. Regardless of the approach, they will have to strike a balance between filling vacancies and maintaining overall productivity,” said Jean Marc Verbist, leader of the Human Capital Center for Europe at The Conference Board. “Expect companies to focus a lot on workplace culture and adapting to AI in the coming months. Employers can also combat unfilled vacancies by expanding their talent search, hiring underrepresented groups such as women, senior and foreign workers, and flexible workers. However, managers must ensure that these approaches work in harmony.”

About The Conference BoardThe Conference Board is the member-driven think tank delivering Trusted Insights for What’s Ahead™. Founded in 1916, we are a nonpartisan, nonprofit entity that holds 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.ConferenceBoard.org

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