AI and skills: LinkedIn’s strategy for the future

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The integration of AI is profoundly transforming the modern workplace, and it’s highlighting the need for people skilled in using the technology’s potential. After all, AI tools are only as effective as the skills and adaptability of the professionals navigating this new world.

LinkedIn, a business-focused social network, is invested in this AI revolution. Like other enterprises, it’s incorporating AI in its operations and is actively promoting a culture of continuous learning and skill development among its workforce and users.

In an exclusive interview, Frontier Enterprise speaks with Feon Ang, Vice President, LinkedIn Talent Solution and Managing Director, APAC. Ang delves into the significance of AI in today’s workplace, emphasising the importance of both technical and soft skills in navigating this AI-driven environment.

How is LinkedIn incorporating user feedback to refine the AI algorithms behind its job search tool?

We aim to create economic opportunities for every member of the global workforce. In every decision we make, whether large or small, we prioritise our members and commit to doing the right thing for them daily. We’ve consistently emphasised fairness and integrity in all aspects of our operations, and our approach to AI is no exception. As we continually evaluate, test, and enhance our products, we rigorously assess the benefits and challenges of potential models, ensuring they meet our customers’ and members’ needs and requirements.

At the same time, we know that AI models are changing fast. In exploring these new technologies, we’re focused on staying transparent, actively listening and learning, and ensuring that our products are built responsibly.

What steps is LinkedIn taking to improve the accuracy of data representation in user profiles through its AI tools?

LinkedIn’s Recruiter 2024 uses generative AI, combined with insights from over 950 million professionals, 63 million companies, and 40,000 skills on our platform. This integration offers recruiters with more relevant and suitable candidate recommendations from a wider pool.

Our automated systems, backed by teams of specialists, play a significant role in limiting the number of fake accounts from joining our community. According to our transparency report, 96% of detected fake accounts and 99.1% of spam and scams are identified and removed by these systems. We also rely on our members to report any suspicious profiles or content so we can take action.

Feon Ang, Vice President, LinkedIn Talent Solution and Managing Director, APAC. Image courtesy of LinkedIn APAC.

In October 2022, we introduced profile verification options, using a new deep-learning model to identify AI-generated profile photos. By April 2023, we launched additional verification methods for members in the United States to confirm their identity and where they work. This feature has been extended to India, Mexico, and Canada, and we plan to expand it to more markets soon.

How does LinkedIn’s AI ensure that recruiters can maintain their unique brand identity in generated ads, without making it a one-size-fits-all solution?

We recently piloted new generative AI tools in Recruiter and Learning Hub to a small handful of customers, with plans to roll them out to all customers throughout the year.

The Recruiter 2024 experience uses AI in conjunction with data drawn from over 950 million professionals, 63 million companies, and 40,000 skills on our platform. It can help talent acquisition leaders find qualified candidates faster, and provide personalised recommendations based on a recruiter’s hiring activities, candidates’ job seeking activities, and key information from job posts.

For example, talent leaders can use natural language and put their hiring goal in their own words like “I want to hire a senior growth marketing leader.” Our tool can infer the type of candidate the hirer is looking for and recommends prospective hires that align closely with the hiring criteria, from a much wider pool of candidates — moving beyond the brand-name companies that have traditionally been the default.

Earlier this year, we introduced AI-assisted messages. These messages are generated using our in-house AI model, trained on successful InMails and data from candidates’ profiles, job descriptions, and the recruiter’s company information. This feature is designed to help recruiters create tailored messages, which they can review, edit, and send. The goal is to help recruiters focus on the more strategic aspects of their work, such as maximising engagement with potential candidates.

What are the most significant challenges LinkedIn faces in adapting its AI features to meet the diverse needs of the APAC market?

Jobs and the required skill sets are rapidly evolving. For instance, since 2015, approximately 25% of the skills once deemed essential for jobs have transformed globally. This evolution is more pronounced in the APAC region, with a 27% change in Australia, 30% in India, and 36% in Singapore. With AI continuing to advance, it is projected that the skills needed for jobs will undergo at least a 65% change by 2030 worldwide. In light of these developments, business leaders are increasingly relying on HR and recruitment teams to guide their workforce in adapting to these changes.

For talent acquisition leaders, the primary challenge is finding qualified candidates quickly. This often involves extensive Boolean searches, emails, and follow-up messages. This is why we launched our Recruiter 2024 experience; it aims to help talent acquisition leaders find qualified candidates more quickly.

Additionally, there’s a noticeable trend in declining career progression confidence among professionals. Our Workforce Confidence Index, surveying 12 countries, found a drop in career progression confidence compared to last year (Australia down by 8 points, India by 2 points). In APAC, 58% of professionals are interested in using AI for career guidance and handling workplace challenges. To address this, LinkedIn recently launched a pilot for an AI-powered coaching feature in LinkedIn Learning, which provides real-time advice and personalised course recommendations through a chatbot experience.

With the high demand for AI talent, how does LinkedIn ensure it attracts and retains the right kind of expertise internally, especially in APAC?

In the AI-driven work landscape, organisations can maintain competitiveness by emphasising skills in their hiring and development processes. This strategy equips them with a workforce that is agile and adaptable, even in challenging times. Presently, four in 10 hirers on LinkedIn explicitly incorporate skills data into their recruitment strategies, and 90% of learning and development (L&D) professionals agree that building employee skills proactively is crucial for adapting to the future of work. The top strategy for improving retention, as indicated in LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, is providing learning opportunities. Key factors attracting individuals to new job opportunities include prospects for career growth and learning new skills.

It’s equally important for workers to adopt a growth mindset, embracing tools like AI to thrive in the future work environment. They should focus on acquiring new and in-demand skills, particularly soft skills. The top four soft skills identified by a majority of professionals as increasing in importance with the widespread use of AI in the workplace are problem solving (61.76%), time management (61.29%), adaptability and relevance (60.47%), and strategic thinking (60.26%).

  • Problem solving is valued at 57% in Australia, 69% in Singapore, 77% in India, 75% in Indonesia, 77% in the Philippines, 69% in Malaysia, and 42% in Japan.
  • Time management is prioritised by 54% in Australia, 65% in Singapore, 78% in India, 76% in Indonesia, 78% in the Philippines, 68% in Malaysia, and 42% in Japan.
  • Adaptability and relevance are recognized by 60% in Australia, 69% in Singapore, 74% in India, 72% in Indonesia, 76% in the Philippines, 66% in Malaysia, and 41% in Japan.
  • Strategic thinking is emphasised by 56% in Australia, 67% in Singapore, 74% in India, 76% in Indonesia, 78% in the Philippines, 67% in Malaysia, and 40% in Japan.

This is something we promote internally at LinkedIn as well. Skills are top of mind for professionals, and we aspire to create a trusted, caring, welcoming, fun, and transformative experience for each other, placing internal learning opportunities at the forefront for our team.