AI is playing a major role in the debate about the future of work, with a recent report by Deloitte finding 70% are open to offloading work to AI to free up time and boost creativity.
And with Accenture estimating that as many as 40% of all working hours will be supported or augmented by language-based AI in future, generative AI (Gen AI) and other rapidly evolving technologies are ushering in a bold new future for businesses.
Now, a report from Oliver Wyman has provided insight into the extent to which Gen AI is transforming companies and communities across the Middle East. The research reveals that while the use of AI is surging amongst UAE employees, employers need to make greater efforts to train and engage employees about its use.
The challenges associated with Gen AI: Employers must keep pace with technology
While the report demonstrates that the UAE is among the leading countries in the world for deploying Gen AI, it also flags up some of the challenges this pioneering role is creating. In total, 74% of UAE employees say that they use AI in the workplace every week, while 91% would like their employer to offer training in the use of AI tools in the workplace. In contrast, 84% of UAE employees currently receive training in AI, which is above the global average of 64% for the 16 countries covered by the report, but still shows significant room for improvement.
“With the UAE taking a leadership position in AI, it is vital for employers to keep pace with the technology and understand exactly how it impacts their company, and how to best integrate it into their processes and practices,” comments Jad Haddad, Head of Digital IMEA, Oliver Wyman. “This research underscores the readiness of employees to utilise AI, while also alerting employers of the need to take control of the situation to ensure AI works for their organisation, and by extension for employees, customers, and for society as a whole.”
The security risks of public Gen AI tools
With research from Zscaler highlighting how organisations are feeling the pressure to rush into Gen AI tool usage, despite significant security concerns, organisations today must consider these threats.
According to Oliver Wyman’s report, the potential repercussions of employees using AI without the right training are serious, particularly in terms of security, with 94% of UAE employees who are using AI saying that they may have exposed proprietary data while using public generative AI tools, posing an ongoing risk to their organisation.
AI may also impact staff retention, with the increasing use of AI in the workplace apparently changing employee behaviour. Some 25% of UAE employees report they are job-seeking due to AI disruption: reflecting how technologies such as AI are changing the future workforce.
The research also revealed that employees are open to using AI as a tool when changing jobs, with 41% of UAE respondents saying they are open to AI screening their job applications, signalling potential shifts in the future of hiring.
Also, more than half of UAE employees (52%) say they would prefer working with an AI colleague over a human one, indicating that staff could respond well to a significant increase in the use of AI in the workplace.
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