New World Economic Forum White Paper Outlines the State of Play for the Use of Artificial Intelligence for Human Resources Professionals

Press Release
Dec. 7, 2021

Washington, DC, 7 December 2021

The World Economic Forum, with contributions from the Center on Education and Labor at New America and the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Turkey, an affiliate center of the World Economic Forum, published a white paper, Human-Centred AI for HR: State of Play and the Path Ahead, and the “Human-Centred AI for Human Resources: A Toolkit for Human Resources Professionals” toolkit to scale the responsible use of artificial intelligence in HR.

The toolkit includes a guide covering key topics and steps in the responsible use of AI-based HR tools, and two checklists - one focused on strategic planning and the other on the adoption of a specific tool.

The white paper discusses the lessons learned from the project and presents new issues that are on the horizon for AI in HR.

Recent years have witnessed a rapid expansion of tools that leverage AI to take on human resources tasks such as hiring, training, and employee engagement. These tools aim to harness the power of AI to manage talent in ways that are more effective, fair, and efficient.

However, the use of AI in HR raises concerns given AI’s potential for problems in areas such as data privacy and bias.

The use of AI in HR also poses operational, reputational, and legal risks to organizations, especially with recent moves in several countries to regulate its use. There is therefore high interest in AI in HR but also apprehension, and organizations are looking to navigate this increasingly complex landscape.

To help organizations overcome these challenges, the World Economic Forum collaborated with over 200 experts in HR, data science, employment law, and ethics to create and pilot a practical toolkit and produced a detailed white paper for the responsible use of AI in this field.

The white paper was co-authored by Matissa Hollister, a World Economic Forum Fellow and Professor from McGill University, Shalin Jyotishi, Senior Policy Analyst at New America’s Center on Education and Labor, and Tunç Acarkan from the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Turkey, an affiliate center of the World Economic Forum established by the Turkish Employers’ Association of Metal Industries (MESS) and the Republic Of Turkey Ministry of Industry and Technology.

In 2022, New America’s Jyotishi will be building on the work of the project as a new Fellow with the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the World Economic Forum with a focus on how employers can emphasize improving job quality markers as part of their technology adoption approach.


“The use of AI in Human Resources is becoming prolific and yet it can be riddled with ethical AI problems such as bias. For this and other reasons, the EU has named it a high-risk use of AI. This multi-stakeholder work helps all users to take the right decisions when using these tools,” said Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning at the World Economic Forum.

“As large companies innovate with a growing variety of technological tools related to talent and people strategy, questions abound as to how to ensure that technology is used responsibly and effectively. The Human-Centred AI for HR Toolkit and white paper is a practical guide to the responsible use of AI in HR that we hope will assist HR professionals to properly assess AI tools, improve diversity and inclusion outcomes, and support ethical AI practices for their organizations,” said Ani Huang, Senior Vice President of the HR Policy Association.

“As the workplace continues to evolve, HR professionals must embrace technologies, like AI, to better understand employee and business challenges and recommend evidence-based solutions. This toolkit will be helpful for HR professionals in making better-informed decisions when using AI in Human Resources,” said Alexander Alonso, Chief Knowledge Officer for the Society for Human Resource Management.