PwC: How Technology and Gen AI is Reshaping the Workplace

PwC's report found workers are increasingly turning to AI and Gen AI as a tool for career advancement
As AI transforms the workplace, a PwC report finds employees are embracing new technologies to navigate rising workloads and accelerate their careers

In an era of rapid technological advancement, the workplace is undergoing a profound transformation. AI, and particularly generative AI (Gen AI), is at the forefront of this change, reshaping how we work, learn and grow in our careers. As workloads increase and the pace of change accelerates, employees are turning to AI as a powerful ally in navigating these challenges and unlocking new opportunities for personal and professional growth.

PwC’s 2024 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears report has revealed a workplace in flux. The survey interviewed more than 56,000 workers across 50 countries and territories and finds that workers are embracing AI and prioritising skills growth amid rising workloads and an accelerating pace of change. Nearly half of workers report significant increases in their workloads, while almost two-thirds say the pace of change at work has accelerated. This shifting landscape has led to a heightened sense of uncertainty, with many employees struggling to understand the purpose behind the changes they're experiencing.

Despite these pressures, there is a silver lining. Job satisfaction is on the rise, with 60% of workers expressing at least moderate satisfaction in their roles. This suggests that while the workplace is evolving rapidly, many employees are finding ways to adapt and thrive.

Workers are embracing AI as a career catalyst

In response to these challenges, workers are increasingly turning to AI and Gen AI as a tool for career advancement. The optimism surrounding AI's potential is clear: among daily users of Gen AI, a staggering 82% expect it to make their work more efficient in the coming year. Moreover, half of all AI users anticipate that it will lead to higher salaries, with this expectation rising to 76% among daily users.

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The benefits of AI extend beyond mere efficiency. A significant majority of users believe that Gen AI tools will create opportunities for greater creativity at work and improve the quality of their output. This suggests that AI is not just about automation, but about augmenting human capabilities and unleashing new potential.

The skills imperative

As AI reshapes the workplace, the importance of continuous skill development has never been more apparent. Employees are increasingly prioritising opportunities for learning and growth, with two-thirds of those considering job changes citing skills development as a crucial factor in their decision.

This focus on skills is not unfounded. Many workers, particularly those open to job changes, anticipate significant shifts in the skills required for their roles in the coming years. However, there's a concerning gap between this recognition and the support provided by employers. Less than half of employees feel their current workplace offers adequate opportunities to learn new, career-enhancing skills.

The AI skills gap is particularly noteworthy. While there's widespread interest in leveraging AI for skills development, with 76% of users expecting AI to create learning opportunities, many workers face barriers to adoption. These range from a lack of access to AI tools at work to uncertainty about how to use them effectively.

Bridging the gap: A call to action for employers

As the workplace continues to evolve, it's clear that both employees and employers have crucial roles to play. Workers are demonstrating a willingness to adapt, learn, and leverage new technologies to advance their careers. Now, it's up to organisations to meet this enthusiasm with meaningful support and investment.

Employers must prioritise comprehensive upskilling programmes that go beyond traditional training methods. This means not only providing access to cutting-edge AI tools but also ensuring employees understand how to use them effectively in their specific roles. Moreover, organisations need to create a culture of continuous learning, where skill development is woven into the fabric of daily work life.

“Technology is fundamentally transforming the way work gets done and the types of skills employers are looking for,” says Pete Brown, Global Workforce Leader at PwC UK. “Employees are therefore placing an increased premium on organisations that invest in their skills growth so that they can stay relevant and thrive in a digital world. Businesses in turn must be proactive in their upskilling programmes - prioritising the employee experience and being transparent. Because when you meaningfully engage your workforce, they become an accelerant for successful transformation.”


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