- Over half of employers think we should embrace AI in the workplace
- Almost half of workers think we should embrace AI in the workplace – with less than a fifth believing we should fear the impact of AI
- Just one in five organisations say they are currently using AI tools such as ChatGPT
- Fewer than one in five workers have used an AI tool in their current role
Employers and workers are keen to embrace the positive impacts that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bring, with only a small percentage of people saying they fear it, according to new research conducted by Hays.
The survey, which received over 8,800 responses from professionals and employers across the UK (including 378 respondents in Northern Ireland) found that 56% (55% in NI) of employers think we should embrace AI in the workplace. A further 36% (35% in NI) of employers are undecided if we should embrace AI, and only 8% (10% in NI) think it should be feared.
Workers share a similar sentiment with close to half (49% in UK and NI) saying we should embrace AI in the workplace, and only 13% (16% in NI) saying they think it should be feared.
One in five employers using AI tools
Twenty-one per cent (17% in NI) organisations say they are currently using AI tools such as ChatGPT. The main reason for not utilising AI tools, cited by 25% of respondents (30% in NI) is a lack of awareness or understanding of the benefits.
When it comes to staff using AI tools, 66% of employers (71% in NI) intend to allow staff to use AI tools but will monitor usage. Only 3% of employers have banned the use of AI tools but 18% (19% in NI) intend to ban tools like ChatGPT.
Fewer than one in five workers (15% UK and NI) say they have already used an AI tool such as ChatGPT in their current role – with this figure increasing to 23% (27% in NI) for professionals aged between 20-29.
Usage of AI tools is higher across a number of professions including marketing, as over a third (37%) of UK professionals say they have used an AI tool in their current role. 30% of tech workers say they have utilised AI tools, followed by 23% of professionals working in architecture and 17% in sales.
Fifty-one per cent of employers (53% in NI) say they do not have the right skills in their workforce to make the best use of AI tools and technology. For those employers who said they have skills gaps, 45% (49% in NI) said both technical and soft skills are lacking, whereas 38% (31% in NI) said it was mainly technical skills needed to use specific AI tools. Some 27% of employers (24% in NI) say they are investing in training for staff to upskill in AI tools and technologies.
John Moore, Managing Director of Hays in Northern Ireland, said: “It’s clear from our research that the sentiment towards using AI within the workplace is largely positive, reflecting the potential it has to make a meaningful difference by driving efficiencies and freeing up talented people to think creatively and concentrate on more interesting, strategically important tasks. While uptake remains low as employers across all sectors get to grips with how AI could benefit their organisations, this will change.
“What’s concerning is the speed at which AI technology is progressing, as over half of employers say they don’t have the right skills within their workforce to make the best use of AI and technology. It’s a huge opportunity for professionals to upskill in getting to know how AI could affect their profession, and how they can utilise AI tools to advance their careers.”
He added: “Employers should be on the front foot and investing in training for staff to upskill in AI tools and tech. Being behind the curve in offering upskilling and training for staff will lead to skills gaps worsening and run the risk of not being an attractive organisation for new hires, amongst other factors.”