Employees in UK businesses are optimistic about the future impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their jobs according to a nationwide study conducted by Genesys, the global leader in omnichannel customer experience and contact centre solutions. The survey found nearly two-thirds of employees value new technological tools such as AI in the workplace. In fact, 64% of UK employees say it makes them more effective and allows them to focus on other tasks.
The findings reveal an overwhelmingly positive outlook from employees, despite the negative headlines anticipating such technologies would replace humans in the workplace. More than two-thirds of employees say they don’t feel threatened by technology at work. They don’t expect the technology to become a threat anytime soon either, given that 59% don’t believe AI or bots will take their jobs within the next ten years. In fact, employees see AI as pivotal to business success with more than a fifth saying they believe AI or bots will be crucial to their companies ability to stay competitive in the future.
“It’s encouraging that UK’s workers recognise the potential new technologies such as AI have to make their jobs more fulfilling and the value it can bring to businesses,” said Steve Leeson, Vice President for UK and Ireland for Genesys.
Even while the survey shows that people are more excited about AI technology than fearful, in the long-term they want assurances from their employers in the form of training. The research showed an overwhelming majority (86%) of employees expect their employers to provide training that helps them prepare for an AI-enabled workplace.
“Some jobs will evolve as human work combines with the capabilities of AI.
It’s increasingly important for companies to assess the need for training programs to help employees further skills like creativity, leadership and empathy, which AI just can’t replace.
Businesses that adopt a blended approach to artificial intelligence, where AI-technologies work in unison with employees, will get the best out of their technology investment and their skilled workforce.”
A few additional UK findings related to overall attitudes toward AI include:
- A fifth of employees say they are already working with AI
- Only 16% of employees report a negative experience of new technological tools in the workplace
- 64% of employees believe there should be a requirement that companies maintain a minimum percentage of human employees versus AI-powered robots and machinery
- 41% of millennials say they spend fifty per cent or more of their time interacting with machines and computers rather than humans
Survey methodology and participation
In the UK a total of 801 adults completed the online survey in April. Respondents were evenly divided into three age ranges: 18-38, 39-54, 55-57 with women accounting for 58% and 42% accounting for men.
Just over 73% of those surveyed have a full time employee status, with the remaining 27% reporting that they are working part time. The responses came from seven categories of company sizes with a total of 21% employed by companies with fewer than 250 employees.