Staffing Firms Among the Many Industries to Adopt AI by 2021

By Stefano Tromba
January 6, 2020

The dominance of AI in the talent acquisition and recruiting industry will gain momentum in 2020 – that’s according to a new global survey.

According to the survey, two-thirds of all staffing firms will adopt AI-powered applicant tracking systems (ATS) by the end of 2020.

The global Artificial Intelligence in the Recruiting Industry benchmark survey, from CEIPAL, a SAAS front-and back-office staffing company, determined that more than ¾ of enterprise staffing firms with 100+ recruiters will follow suit. Highlighting the disruption AI has caused in the ATS world, Sameer Penakalapati, CEIPAL’s founder, says that the reality of AI technology in the recruiting space has actually caught up to the hype. “We want to quantify the sea change it’s causing and share that data with our customers and the rest of the staffing world in preparation for the coming new year,” he says of his firm’s survey. Survey results show that AI will help overcome some of the many obstacles recruiters face, as well as closing rates by improving the marketing of open job orders, productivity and performance, and candidate sourcing and matching.


The adoption of AI is not limited to the recruitment space. Small businesses, within the retail, hospitality, healthcare, and even financial institutions are utilizing AI in ways to create a bigger footprint to keep better tabs on customers and grow business.  In fact, the November National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey, reported in late 2019 that small business optimism spiked to heights not seen since May of 2018.


And no more is that apparent than in southeast Asia which leads the world in AI adoption for recruitment. Firms in the U.K. are not far behind and U.S. firms are not far behind but are somewhat lagging in comparison. That said, 60% of U.S. companies plan to catch up within the year by incorporating AI technologies into their business strategy.

Joel Kohn, founder, and CEO of the automated HR & Payroll Platform, Fingercheck states, “each year since we began operations, we’ve seen an incremental rise in small business owners aggressively moving forward with automation to alleviate time-consuming everyday tasks like onboarding new hires and managing payroll.”  This, according to Kohn, is the “new norm” in business and allows smaller firms to stay competitive because of their willingness to embrace AI technology.

Discoveries from the survey include:

  • All survey participants either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that AI is the future of recruitment, and that adopting it will help recruiters build stronger relationships with job seekers.
  • “Marketing requirements” were the biggest need in AI adoption, along with productivity, quality and reporting needs. Participants who reported marketing requirements as a major need were 23% more likely to use AI in their recruitment practice (80% said they were likely to adopt) than those who did not report marketing as a major need (65% said they were likely to adopt it).
  • The majority of survey participants (71%) believe AI will eradicate human bias from the recruitment cycle altogether. However, there were 29% who “strongly disagreed” with this opinion
  • More than half of today’s recruits favor texting over email and phone calls. Unsurprisingly, 52% of respondents strongly agreed that AI-enabled chatbots will help improve productivity and ultimately the recruitment experience of these candidates.

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