May 30, 2024

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Workers hide use of AI on important tasks due to fears of being replaced: Report

Workers hide use of AI on important tasks due to fears of being replaced: Report

A ChatGPT chat screen on a laptop and a logo on a smartphone are staged in Brooklyn, New York, US, on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Gabe Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The use of artificial intelligence in the workplace is at an all-time high, as workers insist on getting ahead of their busy schedules, but concerns about the emerging technology replacing jobs remain, according to new research from Microsoft and LinkedIn.

Released by Microsoft and LinkedIn Annual business trend index Wednesday which looked at the effects of artificial intelligence on the labor market by surveying 31,000 people in 31 countries including the US, UK, Germany, France, India, Singapore, Australia and Brazil.

It found that although 75% of workers use AI in the workplace, more than half of respondents don’t want to admit they use it for their most important tasks. This is because 53% of those who use AI at work for their most important tasks worry that it makes them appear replaceable.

Additionally, nearly half of professionals worry that AI will replace their jobs and are considering leaving their current job in the next year.

Colette Stahlbaumer, general manager of Microsoft Copilot and co-founder of Microsoft WorkLab, told CNBC Make It that workers need to overcome their fears and start embracing AI.

“The more you can learn and learn as an employee, the better off you will be,” Stalbaumer said.

“I think this is where people have to get over the fear barrier a little bit and move to optimism, move to a growth mindset, and take “The opportunity to learn these skills, because all the data shows it will make them more marketable, whether you’re inside your company today, or looking to move or get a job.”

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Bosses are keen to hire workers with AI capabilities

Employment of technical talent in AI has increased by 323% over the past eight years, according to research. But workers from non-technical backgrounds who know how to use AI tools like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot are also in high demand.

The study showed that 66% of leaders said they would not hire someone without AI skills and 71% of leaders would prefer to hire a less experienced worker with AI skills rather than a more experienced person without them.

Although bosses value AI knowledge in the workplace, they do not take an active approach to developing employee skills. Nearly half of U.S. executives are not currently investing in AI tools or products for employees, and just over a quarter of companies plan to offer generative AI training this year.

Meanwhile, only 39% of people using AI at work globally have received AI training from their employers.

“What’s interesting about the data is that employees seem to understand it in terms of AI adoption, but companies don’t seem to fully understand it yet,” Anish Raman, vice president and workforce expert at LinkedIn, told CNBC Make It.

“The biggest thing is that if you are a business, you are either falling behind or moving forward. There is no fixed position so you have to have conversations about your view on AI and how a business will grow.”

Workers use AI to get ahead

Despite some of these concerns, employees are realizing the benefits that AI tools provide and are using them to advance their careers.

More than three-quarters of professionals say they need AI skills to remain competitive in the job market, and that this will allow them to access more job opportunities. Just under 70% say it could help them get promoted faster.

“I think the key for everyone is to realize that our jobs will change and new categories of jobs will emerge, and what people can do to deal with this anxiety is to think about skills first,” Raman explained.

“Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said this line: This is the age of know-it-alls, not the age of know-it-alls,” Raman said.