MindEdge Online Learning

Fourth Annual MindEdge/HRCI Survey: AI Is Here, In-Person Work Is Back, and Online Learning Certificates Are Very Popular

Fourth Annual MindEdge/HRCI Survey: AI Is Here, In-Person Work Is Back, and Online Learning Certificates Are Very Popular

BOSTON, MA, and ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 30, 2023) –

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into many American workplaces has sparked curiosity among HR professionals who are eager to explore its opportunities and understand its impact on workers, according to the fourth annual collaborative survey from MindEdge Learning and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

The online survey, HR, AI, and the New American Workplace, received responses from 1,030 HRCI-certified human resources professionals. Among respondents who said they closely follow news about AI, a majority (51%) sees AI as an opportunity for workers. Conversely, among those who are less familiar with the topic, a small plurality (38% to 34%) sees AI as more of a threat to eliminate jobs.

Majorities among HR professionals in the Technology (52%) and Education (52%) sectors see AI as an opportunity for workers, while those who work in Manufacturing are evenly divided on this issue, with 38% recognizing it as an opportunity and 39% perceiving AI as a threat.

Overall, 44% of respondents view AI as an opportunity, recognizing its potential to free up time for workers to engage in more fulfilling tasks. While 33% express concerns about AI potentially eliminating jobs, it is important to note that 23% of respondents remain uncertain about its effects, indicating that further exploration is needed.

The survey also found that HR professionals advocate for government regulation of AI. Three-of-four (73%) of survey respondents support stricter government oversight of AI research, with 29% strongly favoring such measures. This positive stance demonstrates the profession’s dedication to ensuring a responsible and inclusive implementation of this transformative technology.

Significantly, survey respondents are much more optimistic about AI’s impact on their own job situations. Fully 62% see AI as an opportunity to engage in more satisfying work, and only 17% view it as a threat to their job security. This perception is even more pronounced among respondents whose organizations have already embraced AI, 81% of whom recognize AI as a personal opportunity.

A Return to “Normal”

As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes into memory, more organizations are embracing a return to in-person work. A majority (55%) of respondents say most employees at their organization are now working in-person, while only 17% say most employees work remotely; another 28% say most workers are on a hybrid schedule.

Last year, in response to a different question, 78% of respondents said their organization had instituted hybrid work schedules for at least some employees. While not directly comparable, this year’s results suggest a significant movement back to in-person work.

In-person work is most common in the Manufacturing (82%) and Healthcare (63%) sectors, and least common in the Technology (24%) sector.

Three-of-five (60%) respondents indicate their workplaces are at least “mostly back to normal”—with those who work in Retail (69%) and Manufacturing (68%) the most likely to say that normalcy has returned.

But perceptions of “normal” are qualified: only 25% of respondents say that, “almost everything is like it was before the pandemic,” while the same proportion (25%) report that their organization is fairly different or extremely different from what it was like before the pandemic.

One-of-three (33%) respondents say conditions at their organization are better than before the pandemic, while 16% say conditions are worse. Another 31% say conditions are about the same, and 20% report that they were not at their current organization before COVID-19 hit.

“It’s clear that most people want to get back to normal, but it’s hard for many of them to define what normal really means,” said Brad Neuenhaus, chief business officer for MindEdge Learning. “The new American workplace is still a work in progress, so stay tuned.”

Turnover and Burnout Are Still Problems

Two-of-five (40%) HR professionals report that turnover at their organization is higher than before the pandemic, including 12% who indicate that turnover rates are much higher. This figure has declined noticeably from last year, when 67% of respondents said turnover had increased, but it is still relatively high. Only 8% of respondents in this year’s survey say that turnover is lower than before the pandemic.

Turnover is particularly high in the Education (54%) and Healthcare (45%) sectors.

Finding replacements for departing workers continues to be difficult. Two-of-three (67%) respondents say it is difficult to find new workers—down a bit from last year (82%), but still quite high. Fully one-of-six (17%) report having a very difficult time locating qualified new workers.

In addition, more than two-of-three (68%) respondents say they have seen an increase in employee burnout at their organization, including 23% who report a major increase. While down a bit from last year (82%) and 2021 (80%), this year’s finding indicates that employee burnout remains a very significant issue.

Strong Interest in Online Learning and Certificates

The overwhelming majority of respondents (85%) report that their organization offers continuing learning to employees. Almost as many (79%) say that they, themselves, take courses on specific HR topics outside their general certification.

Four-of-five (80%) respondents say they would be interested in taking online courses to earn a certificate in a specific HR topic outside their general certification. Fully 43% say they would be very interested in taking such online courses.

Respondents are most interested in earning certificates in People Analytics (83% very or fairly interested) and Employment Law (82%). Large majorities also express interest in earning certificates in Compensation (72%) and Benefits (68%).

“It is inspiring that today both employers and employees highly value the importance of continuing learning” said Dave Meginley, chief revenue and learning officer at HRCI. “Although formal educational programs and certifications remain great starting points for general HR knowledge, specialized certificates have become extremely popular options to fuel individual learning journeys and develop specific HR career competencies that are highly desirable to organizations globally.”

Remote HR Continues to Pose Challenges

Remote HR is not quite as prevalent as it was a year ago, but many organizations are still performing HR functions remotely. Two-of-five (40%) respondents say their organization conducts HR functions remotely “all” or “most” of the time—down a bit from last year (52%). Another 35% say they practice remote HR some of the time, and only 23% do not perform any HR functions remotely.

With so many organizations conducting HR functions remotely, respondents are experiencing at least some challenges in hiring new talent:

  • 52% indicate that recruiting is harder than before the pandemic, and only 8% say recruiting is easier.
  • 35% say remote onboarding is harder than in-person onboarding, and just 17% say remote onboarding is easier.
  • 30% indicate that remote interviews are less productive than in-person interviews, compared to 24% who say they are more productive.

About the Methodology

MindEdge/HRCI’s 2023 HR, AI, and the New American Workplace survey was conducted online from September 22 through 29, 2023. The survey probed the attitudes of 1,030 HR professionals in the United States who are 18 years or older and hold one or more certifications from HRCI.

About MindEdge Learning

MindEdge’s mission is to improve the way the world learns. Since its founding in 1998 by Harvard and MIT educators, the company has served some 4 million learners. With a focus on digital-first learning resources—from academic courseware to professional development courses—MindEdge’s approach to best practices in online education focuses on learners’ needs across the spectrum of higher education, professional development, skills training, and continuing education.

About HRCI

HRCI, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is the premier credentialing and learning organization for the human resources profession. For over 50 years, HRCI has set the global standard for HR expertise and excellence through its commitment to the development and advancement of businesspeople in the people business. HRCI develops and offers world-class learning, as well as the administration of eight global certifications, and is dedicated to helping professionals achieve new competencies that drive business results. Learn more at https://www.hrci.org/.

Media Contacts

Kate Achille (kate@devonpr.com)
The Devon Group for HRCI

For MindEdge:
Frank Connolly (fconnolly@mindedge.com)