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How AI Can Help Telecom Companies Overcome Skills Gaps

Artificial intelligence is rising in importance in the telecom industry. Discover how it can be used to streamline talent management. 

The rapid shift to digital transformation in the wake of COVID-19 affected all industries around the world, increasing competition for digital talent globally. Organizations have taken measures to attract digital workers, but the competition continues at an all-time high, pitting telecom companies against technology giants and other industries for the same skilled workers. 

McKinsey research found three key skill areas “that showed the strongest growth and potential trajectory for further disruption in the future: digital architecture, embedded systems and internet of things (IoT), and advanced analytics and AI,” or artificial intelligence. 

Telecom companies are embracing each of these areas as 5G technology evolves and the reality of smart cities nears. AI, in particular, “should be central to the telcos’ transformation because it will help deliver superior performance in the short and long term,” notes the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

“Telecom companies will be better able to cope with fluctuating demand levels, adjust to supply chain disruptions, and adapt to sharp shifts in consumer confidence and priorities,” 

The role of AI in telecom

Already, AI is being used to aid customer service through virtual assistants and chatbots and to automate repetitive processes. “AI is becoming a fundamental aspect of every part of the telecoms stack,” reports UK company Akixi. “Today’s telecoms vendors need to look at how they can intelligently support everything from productivity to agent management with the right services.”

One area they may not have tapped yet but where AI can definitely help is in talent acquisition. The technology offers much promise there to streamline the candidate experience and help companies fill skills gaps expediently. AI can make light work of connecting billions of data points.

According to Gartner, 52% of organizations plan to use AI in workforce planning, 51% in learning and development, and 48% in skills management. That’s because AI is able to sift through talent-related data at speed to find insights that would take humans significantly longer to identify — if they’re able to identify them at all. 

Using AI in talent management

Before you invest in adopting AI to aid in talent management, you need to clearly define your goals. What do you want to accomplish with AI? How do you anticipate its use will impact business outcomes? In what areas do you see the most promise for AI?

By automatically processing hundreds of data fields for any candidate, AI can help you narrow down candidates with the skills you need to find the best fit for any role. But AI shouldn’t be enlisted to decide what those roles and skills are; humans need to be in charge of that. 

Once you’ve identified what you want to accomplish with AI and defined the roles and skills you need to hire for, then you’re ready to implement AI. You can start by feeding that information into an AI-powered talent data platform or talent operating system and put it to work to pinpoint the candidates that best match those skills.

Building a talent pipeline

AI can do much more than match skills to roles and narrow down candidates. One of its greatest contributions to talent acquisition is helping to build a talent pipeline, as CSP RingCentral discovered. It does that through sophisticated algorithms that open talent pools. For example, it can find candidates who possess some of the same skills or experience as previously hired candidates. 

In addition, it can infer skills from existing roles and help you identify candidates with the skills you need, as opposed to looking for job titles. This also contributes to widening the talent pipeline. 

Because AI can analyze data at rapid speed, it can quickly populate a pool of potential candidates for talent teams to take to the next step. Once candidates are segmented into pools, you can use AI to automatically send personalized communications to them. For example, you can suggest they read a job-related article, seek feedback on a step they took, or invite them to tour the workplace or meet some of the employees. 

These nurturing steps can continue to keep the candidates warm until a position opens — if the right opening isn’t immediately available. In that way, you’ll have pools of qualified talent ready to step in, keeping your telecom company productive and thriving. 

AI benefits to the business

Using AI saves significant time and improves talent acquisition results. It frees talent teams to focus on tasks that require human intellect, such as conducting interviews, engaging with candidates and assembling job offers. 

As Human Resource Executive sums, “When AI allows recruiters to spend their time working more closely with candidates, it also provides the opportunity to identify the best candidates and match them with the most appropriate role within the organization. The result is a pipeline that’s more in sync with the company’s needs, with the best-fitting candidates spotlighted more quickly and moved from screening to interview to offer more efficiently.” 

Learn how Beamery helps telecom companies transform talent acquisition with AI.