Emerging technology is proving to be a driver of mid-market and private companies’ hiring, rather than shrinking the workforce. A new report from Deloitte found that 46 percent of surveyed executives plan to hire more people than before emerging technologies came on the scene, versus 26 percent who believe digital disruption will cut their staff count.

“Mid-market and private companies understand they don’t have to compromise between investments in technology and talent,” says Chris Jackson, senior manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Private technology leader. “As an engine of economic growth, the segment is augmenting the workforce with technology and driving businesses in new ways.”

DeLoitte’s research found that when it comes to digital disruption, operations (54 percent), customer service (46 percent) and marketing (41 percent) are expected to see the most workforce-related changes. To prepare workers for this shift, 61 percent of mid-market and private companies surveyed are reskilling employees, and 57 percent are redesigning jobs to seamlessly integrate people and machines. As a result, 58 percent of business leaders anticipate a boost in worker productivity, and 55 percent expect a reduction in operational costs.

Mid-market and private enterprises are also taking advantage of the gig economy, with 62 percent saying it has allowed their companies to become even more agile in product and service development, while half of companies surveyed are leveraging gig workers to develop entire new lines of business. They are also developing strategies to attract the next generation of workers. To meet the demands of the digital native Generation Z, the segment is focusing on an inclusive workforce (64 percent), enhanced experiential learning and development (58 percent), and well-being (55 percent) in their recruitment strategies.

Decisions behind technology adoption and related talent strategies are no longer the sole responsibility of the CIO, Deloitte found—87 percent of executive leaders are leading the development or remaining actively engaged. Deloitte also found that 57 percent are spending more on technology this year than last. Furthermore, its research showed that mid-market and private companies are using the savings from the December 2017 passage of U.S. tax reform legislation to invest in emerging technologies (42 percent) and hire new talent to expand digital capabilities (37 percent).

Despite this, one-third of respondents report having little to no formal IT governance processes in place. A lack of resources (26 percent), cost (21 percent) and a lack of understanding of its importance by executive management (19 percent) are holding companies back.

“Technological disruption brings with it both risks and opportunities, none of which can be properly addressed without rigorous IT governance practices,” says Doug Beaudoin, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Private consulting leader. “Given technology’s proliferation across business operations, it is crucial for the C-suite and boards to have an active role in IT as it relates to overall governance.”

Deloitte found that customers and employees are at the heart of technology trends. Almost 60 percent of respondents said they use analytics for sales and customer management activities. Consistent with the segment’s focus on talent, 57 percent are using HR analytics for performance and productivity, and 56 percent leverage it for talent sourcing and acquisition. Companies are using mixed reality for employee training; education and learning (46 percent); and two-thirds of respondents use robotic process automation to handle high-volume, labor intensive tasks.

“These types of AI and cognitive technologies that are readily available demonstrate the sector’s commitment to maximizing workers’ use of technology, more specifically leveraging technology enhancement to increase productivity while also expanding workers’ capabilities, opportunity and reach,” adds Jackson.