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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Managers see potential in AI, workers not quite so keen

Half of Australian workers say they're worried artificial intelligence will end up replacing their jobs, according to a new study by Microsoft.

While one in two Australians worry about losing their jobs to robots, managers are more likely to perceive artificial intelligence as a productivity enhancer rather than a way to reduce headcounts, new research shows.

Australian managers who responded to a survey led by artificial intelligence provider Microsoft, said AI would provide value by helping employees with repetitive and mundane tasks and increasing employee wellbeing.

"In a world where creativity is the new productivity, the amount of time we spend in meetings, managing emails, and chats is more than just an inconvenience. It significantly impacts the results of businesses," said Jane Mackarell, Microsoft's Australia and New Zealand director for modern work.

"There's an enormous opportunity for AI-powered tools to help lift the weight of work and not only empower employees with greater productivity but bring them back to what I call 'the soul of work' – work that is more fulfilling, creative, and impactful."

The research derived results from an external study of 31,000 people in 31 countries, including 1000 Australians across multiple industries.

While 14 per cent of managers saw the technology as a possible threat to impacting headcounts, the majority did say future employees will need new skills to be prepared for the growth of AI.

Corresponding findings revealed employees feel they need to be educated with new core competencies in AI, and seven in 10 voiced concern about losing their positions to human competitors with AI qualifications who know how to leverage the new technology.

One in two Australian workers admit they do not currently have the right capabilities and struggle to find the time and energy to get their work done. Two in three said they would delegate as much work to AI as possible to lessen their workloads.

"It's fascinating to see that while there is still fear around AI potentially eliminating jobs, people are actually more excited about AI rescuing them from burnout," Ms Mackarell said.

The report was published in the Work Trends Index report.


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