Latest Stats: Employer and Employee Expectations for AI at Work

KEY TAKEAWAYS

We speak to research groups about how employers and employees expect to use generative AI — and the importance of leveraging the technology across a global workforce.

Since the launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI, artificial intelligence (AI) is now firmly entrenched in the business world.

Employers and employees are enthusiastic about its potential but are still getting to grips with how AI — particularly generative AI — will benefit them the most.

Data collated by labor market analytics firm Lightcast shows that the number of job listings related to generative AI took off in the first half of 2023. This reflects the shift in generative AI from a concept in testing to a tool that is commonly used, not only by technical experts.

via LightCast

Who will benefit most is unclear, as employers and employees point to each other as the most likely beneficiary, with 58% of global executives believing that employees will benefit more, whereas 53% of global employees believe that executives will benefit most.

While 84% of employees are hesitant about using AI, 93% say they are excited about the potential uses of AI at work (PDF), according to a study by human resources solutions provider Globalization Partners (G-P).

Gangadhar Konduri, G-P’s Senior Vice President and Head of Product and Design, told Techopedia:

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“If you put all these Lego pieces of the puzzle together — employees and employers both think that it is very important and AI is going to really help them, most of the executives think global organizations are going to help adopt these kinds of new technologies better, and then with respect to the scarcity of the talent they need to go global.

“The right recipe for success is to adopt the technology in a thoughtful way and to grow globally in order to make that adoption go faster.”

Almost half of executives, 48%, report that global organizations are better at adopting and implementing the latest technology and tools.

Both executives and employees are aligned on using AI to review and summarize information and tailor documents to different languages and cultures.

Employees are more enthusiastic about using AI tools to automate repetitive tasks, while executives prefer using AI to track data to quantify the impact of their work.

There are reasons for executives and employees alike to be enthusiastic about using AI. Nearly half of all executives (48%) and 45% of employees believe that AI will significantly improve not just automation but also the ability to predict and address business challenges.

There are three key ways in which employers can harness employee enthusiasm to leverage the benefits of AI, Konduri said:

  1. Align company and employee visions on automation to help employees free up their time to focus on value-added work.
  2. Provide training and expansion opportunities so that new technologies can be adopted seamlessly.
  3. Pair up employees with a global counterpart, whether a manager or a peer, to help them grow.

The Impact of AI on Approaches to Skills Development

As AI systems take on the most repetitive, replicable tasks, there will likely be a stronger focus on human skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, according to Lightcast.

“As AI takes on more rote tasks like coding and programming, as well as even basic writing tasks, workers will need to take on more stakeholder management and idea generation,” Lightcast states.

Analysis by Lightcast and the OECD shows that while all employers using AI consistently demand human or baseline skills, the companies that posted the most AI jobs indicated a higher need for workers who combine their technical skills with leadership, innovation, and problem-solving.

G-P’s Konduri tole Techopedia:

“Skill development needs to be bi-directional and global.

 

“It’s important for employers to set up the right opportunities for employees to develop those skills — and it is not just developing skills, but developing and using them and getting some value.

 

“So the employers need to provide those opportunities and the employees need to look for those opportunities.”

Lightcast found that skill requirements are changing rapidly: on average, 37% of the top 20 skills in a job changed in just five years — a dynamic that generative AI will exacerbate.

“Reskilling is even more important than before – and employers should rethink both the skills they train on and how they train. Assessing skills gaps or training needs can no longer be a one-and-done exercise by employers and training providers,” Lightcast said.

Employers should allocate internal resources to increase mentoring, shadowing, and apprenticeships rather than waiting for content to be developed to show employees how they can best use AI. This can help employers fill skills gaps without wasting money on resources that are not agile enough to change with their needs.

‘Digital When You Want It but Human When You Need It’

The thoughtful implementation of skills-based hiring will become more critical as traditional methods of initially screening applicants, such as cover letters, will become less helpful to employers. Work sample tests, short job-related case studies, or other project-based hiring tools are likely to become more popular and tend to be less biased, according to Lightcast.

AI is taking on a transformational role in recruitment, particularly when hiring global talent.

“It is fundamentally important as you consider entering a new geographic location,” Konduri said. “And it is not just hiring: it is about compliance and ongoing nurturing and management of talent, and AI will help companies stay on the forefront of these emerging trends.”

To avoid the risk of bias or unintended consequences in the use of AI systems, “a good governance model, a good automated feedback loop model, and good automated testing for that is absolutely required, and it needs to be paired with humans,” Konduri said.

“We use a phrase: ‘Digital when you want it but human when you need it’ — we need to have that human element to make sure that you’re not only getting to the results that you want, but you are also getting there thoughtfully and with no unintended side effects.

“You want to make sure there are no ‘hallucinations’.”

Replacing Tasks, Not Jobs

Concerns about technology and automation eliminating jobs are not new, Lightcast notes. But, the ways in which AI can and will change jobs are not entirely negative.

Even if large language models (LMMs), which power generative AI tools like ChatGPT, take on writing marketing copy, for example, there still needs to be a human identifying topics and prompting the tool.

Marketing specialists may then need training in prompt engineering.

The top titles for job listings referring to generative AI in the 12 months to September 2023 included data scientists, machine learning engineers, curriculum writers, software engineers, and research scientists.

via Lightcast

“‘Is AI going to replace the workforce?’ is not the complete question,” Konduri said. “Even provocatively, you can answer it as ‘yes, AI is going to replace part of the workforce’.

“Because the real question is not is AI going to replace the workforce — the real question is ‘is AI going to replace the repetitive parts of the workforce so that we can unshackle and unblock the potential of the workforce and humans?’

“That is the principle that is important to reinforce.”

The Bottom Line

Generative AI is transforming the role of employers and employees and will require a new approach to skills development as automation shifts the emphasis to uniquely human abilities.

AI can be a valuable tool in global recruitment, compliance, and employee management, but it must be moderated by human involvement to ensure it is used appropriately without unintended consequences.

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Nicole Willing

Nicole is a professional journalist with 20 years of experience in writing and editing. Her expertise spans both the tech and financial industries. She has developed expertise in covering commodity, equity, and cryptocurrency markets, as well as the latest trends across the technology sector, from semiconductors to electric vehicles. She holds a degree in Journalism from City University, London. Having embraced the digital nomad lifestyle, she can usually be found on the beach brushing sand out of her keyboard in between snorkeling trips.