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AI potential outweighs employee fears globally

Employees globally are more excited about the potential of AI at work than afraid of it, according to the latest Workmonitor Pulse survey from HR consultancy and recruitment agency Randstad.

The survey, based on the views of over 7,000 employees around the world, found that nearly half (47%) were excited about the prospect of AI compared with two in five (39%) who said they were concerned about it.

A third (33%) of employees are already using AI in their day-to-day roles, with those in India leading the charge (56% of workers).

Yet just 13% of employees have been offered AI training in the last year, suggesting a gap between the pace of uptake and capabilities in this space.

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Matt Hammond, founder of software company Talk Think Do, said employers should ensure they have the right framework in place to support AI use at work.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Employees who embrace technological changes are likely to be using AI already and it is critically important that that they are clear on AI ethics, data privacy and the appropriate use of proprietary information.

"Many forward-thinking staff may already be using ChatGPT to complete work and may be unaware of the risks of exposing sensitive company data to a third party."

AI uptake is necessary for employers to remain competitive, he added. 

“If you and your employees don’t make the move, your competitors are increasingly likely to outperform you,” he said.

“In my experience, it takes time and encouragement to embed new technology and achieve adoption.

“With the initial generative AI hype cycle now dying down and the technology starting to stabilise, I believe now is the ideal time to start encouraging use of AI within your organisation in order to be ahead of the curve.”

Of the countries surveyed, employees in the UK and Germany were the least likely to already be using AI at work, as 24% in each admitted to doing so.

However, nearly half (47% UK and 46% Germany) of employees in both countries believed AI would impact their job and their industry – and this is where the highest demand for AI training existed.

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Randstad’s analysis of job adverts globally also showed a 2,000% uptick in those asking for AI skills since the first quarter of the year.

Sander van't Noordende, managing director of Randstad, said: “AI is increasingly an enabler and enhancer of skills, holding a profound impact on productivity and overall performance in the workplace.

“But the imbalance between skills demanded by businesses and desired by employees, on the one hand, and the training opportunities provided, on the other, has to be addressed.

“AI is here to stay and the benefits of it are very clear – our data shows that employees stand ready to embrace it for their own gain too.

“Successful organisations will be those that leverage this readiness and harness the opportunities of AI in their workforce."