One international survey has uncovered substantial gaps in expectations, skills and trust levels even as optimism and FUD levels run high.

In an August 2023 survey of 3,000 pre-screened workers of large organizations* across Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States° regarding the workplace impact of AI, the data showed some of the following key trends.

First, 95% of respondents were optimistic about AI and its impact. However, their responses also suggested that their organizations may be overlooking how to adopt AI responsibly and effectively. This was reflected in the rate of implementing responsible AI practices (48%) and the human capital and workforce planning processes in place to safeguard headcount as AI adoption scaled up (52%). Some 49% of respondents indicated lack of “utmost confidence” in their organizations’ risk management processes for enterprise-wide technical integration of generative AI.

Second, 63% of respondents indicated that staff needed “some new skills” or “a completely new set of skills” to work with generative AI tools in their day-to-day roles by the end of 2024. This sentiment was different among the C-suite respondents, where 41% of CEOs indicated believing their employees will need fewer skills AI tools will supplement more of their work. Some 79% of respondents cited anticipating  that generative AI tools will impact up to half of their work week.

Interpreting the data

Finally, non-profits, utilities companies and government agencies represented in the survey ranked data and analytics platforms as one of their lowest investment priorities in 2024, in contrast with banks, retailers, and energy companies. IT employees in the survey cited their data and analytics platform as among top 2024 priorities to scale using AI. However, not all employees indicated completely trusting AI-produced data, and that they (48%) “may struggle to derive value from AI”.

According to Bhavya Kapoor, Managing Director (South-east Asia), Avanade, which commissioned the survey: “As generative AI developments continue to reshape our economy and redefine our relationship with technology across Southeast Asia, organizations can prioritize building an AI-first culture that is inherently ‘people first’. This will be pivotal in enabling leaders to responsibly harness the transformative power of AI to human ingenuity and build a future where humans and AI can succeed and coexist in harmony.”

Self-reported to be between the ages of 18 and 65; located in and working for firms with annual revenue of or greater than US$500m; headquartered in the target countries, and employed in one of the following industries: Banking, Energy, Government, Health, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Non-profit, Retail, and Utilities; with a job title level of staff or specialist, mid-level management, senior executive, or C-level; commanding a role in AI decisions for their firm (for mid-level management titles or higher); and awareness of their firms’ current AI strategies (for respondents with staff and specialist titles).