Is the human workforce ready for AI workplace advancement?

One in five companies are already using artificial intelligence, but Hays research suggests that employees are still afraid of its workplace consequences

AI use in the workplace is well underway, yet employers and workers may still have divided opinions. Sky News have reported that recruitment giant Hays have recently conducted a survey which found that close to a third of employees say they do not have the right skills to make best use of machine learning technology.

Cost savings in particular are an attractive selling point of AI, with Sky News suggesting that 56% of employers believe that AI should be embraced in the workplace, as opposed to just 8% who said it should be feared. On the other hand, 49% of employees believe AI should be adopted, with 13% concerned about its impact.

Fresh anxieties about artificial intelligence taking jobs

This report comes in the wake of plenty of technology companies laying off giant numbers of staff. This includes Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, announcing in January 2023 that it was cutting about 12,000 jobs, or 6% of its workforce, with the company focusing on the ‘substantial opportunity’ posed by AI across its products.

Swiftly following suit was Meta in March 2023, announcing its second wave of job cuts in the space of six months to improve ‘company efficiency,’ as well as BT seeking to replace 10,000 jobs with AI by 2030. It speaks to employee anxieties concerning the increasing impact AI is having on the workforce, with employers identifying the key benefits as cost savings, process efficiencies, and improved productivity.

Currently, according to the Hays survey, 21% of organisations say they are already using AI tools such as ChatGPT, alongside 27% investing in training for staff to upskill in the technology. In total, 66% of companies have said that they will allow AI tools at work, but will continue to monitor use cases.

Hays continually provides further resources on AI in the workplace on the company website, weighing up the pros and cons of workplaces adopting greater AI technology. Featured in the below video is Tim Olsen explaining how employees can use AI tools, as well as which industries are already changing because of AI.

Simultaneous to the rapid change, 55% of workers also say that their employer is not providing any preparation for AI use in the workplace. This has ultimately led to greater concerns for workers rights, with calls for greater regulation and oversight of AI use within work environments.

Continued investment: UK still aim to lead the charge 

In 2023, the UK government has pledged to enhance its investment into AI. In March 2023, it published a white paper that set out a fresh approach to regulating AI, in the hopes of building public confidence, as well as allowing businesses to innovate and grow.

Yet it is paramount that the government, as well as employers, continue to address issues like AI-based bias and ensure that privacy and security concerns are addressed in conjunction with AI regulation. This may help curb some of the anxieties that the human workforce is currently facing across multiple industries as to how they may be impacted going forward. 


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