2018 Trends in IO psychology: A look back

At the beginning of this year, we asked our clients and readers of the TTS newsletter to tell us more about what they thought the important trends in IO Psychology would be. We’re very pleased to share the results of this survey with you: an interesting look into our profession indeed!

Key trends in IO: AI leads the way

Of the three main trends likely to shape IO Psychology (i.e. mobile technology, artificial intelligence, and big data), it was artificial intelligence that was voted as the most likely to have wide-ranging impact across the profession. The chart below shows the results of the main survey:

This is significant, because while mobile technologies and advanced data analytics are also likely to have immediate effects on the industry, it seems that our respondents are taking a longer-term view of trends shaping IO. Artificial intelligence was also associated with technologies such as chatbots and similar innovations. A question that intrigued many of our respondents (45%) was the likely effects of such autonomous technologies on traditional practices in assessment centres and interviews as well as its impact on skills shortages. Will old-fashioned human-to-human interactions be replaced by autonomous, artificially intelligent constructs? Time will tell!

Despite AI’s popularity in the survey, big data and mobile technologies also garnered many votes, so the true picture of trends in IO probably lies in the nexus between the three main forces that will shape our future. Clearly all three themes are related: AI and machine learning will help us understand data better, while mobile technology is likely to serve as a persistent backbone for much of our interaction with AI, data software and assessments.

Other trends: Talent scarcity, and generational impact

Since the original 1997 article on the war for talent appeared, recruitment and selection professionals have paid close attention to the ever-increasing competitive nature of global talent supply and demand.
Now, twenty years after the phrase was coined, the talent war is still being fought. In our survey, 15% of respondents mentioned how skills shortages, automation, the rapidly changing nature of work, as well as tight economic times are making the search for talent more complex and competitive than ever. Given how technologies like AI are likely to shape the world-of-work, it is perhaps not surprising that companies are quickly running out of the right talent.

Another, allied concern raised was whether institutions of higher learning are really geared toward producing the kind of qualifications and skills needed by modern organisations.

If scarcity of talent is keeping IO Practitioners awake at night, the reality of a multi-generational workforce might sooth some or further worry others. 20% of our respondents showed a clear interest in how Millennials and the technological-savvy methods they may well bring with them, will shape the future of work and hence, our profession.

Opinions seem divided as to whether this new generation (and those that follow) will prove to be a boon to businesses, or perhaps force us to re-look our talent practices.

What is clear from the above trends is that the responsible IO Practitioner will have to have an informed response or stance on these topics, as they are likely to remain on the talent agenda for some time to come.

Final thoughts

Apart from the key themes mentioned above, a substantial number of our survey respondents also mentioned ethical demands and challenges as strong future trends in the profession.

A casual glance at business headlines certainly confirms that IO Practitioners will increasingly have to address the ethical dimensions of work behaviour to remain relevant into the future. So, while our future will be a necessarily technologically-sophisticated one, we cannot ignore some very ancient human questions and concerns either.

We’d like to thank all our respondents for the invaluable data you all provided—it really helped us understand this exciting profession and field far more!

If you’re interested in how TTS can help you define the future of talent in your organisation, why not connect with us at: info@tts-talent.com?