Beatriz Sanz Sáiz

Beatriz Sanz Sáiz

Global Consulting Data and AI Leader

With IMF research finding 40% of jobs will be affected by AI Technology Magazine speaks with Beatriz Sanz Sáiz about what AI means for the global workforce

A forward-thinking professional with experience in strategy and deep knowledge in artificial intelligence (AI), Beatriz Sanz Sáiz has been a partner at EY for more than 15 years. Having served in various roles within EMEIA and Asia-Pacific, today she leads more than 22,000 professionals and in May 2023 was appointed to lead EY's global Data & AI programme.

During her career, Beatriz has held several senior positions with leading companies in financial services, such as Santander and BBVA, where she was responsible for establishing analytics and innovation as core competencies.

Beatriz’s business acumen is backed by her quantitative and innovation skills which enables her to define and support the growth agenda of large multinationals and be athought leader in analytics, customer centricity and innovation.

Beatriz also leads the Analysts Relations program at EY for Data and AI which has resulted in recognition from analyst firms such as Gartner, IDC, Forrester and HfS as a global leader in Data and AI. She also holds a Master’s degree in mathematics, and is regular speaker at international industry conferences and has been featured in Forbes and the Financial Times among others.

With a recent study from the IMF warning that nearly 40% of jobs around the world will be affected by the rise of AI, Technology Magazine speaks with Beatriz about the rise of AI and what this means for the workforce.

How is AI reshaping the workforce today, and how can organisations embrace its full potential? 

It would be naive and misleading to say that there won’t be challenges, there will be. But, I believe, with any change comes opportunity, which can be realised if business approaches AI in a way that is responsible and ethical. I am fascinated by the potential of AI and the potential impact that it can have, not only at the enterprise level but also across sectors like health and education for example. AI is already transforming how we work, allowing teams to automate simple tasks and assisting people in desk research. This is where we see the most opportunity where human ingenuity collaborates with AI, and helps teams solve problems. For example at EY, our Payroll Chatbot helps our global employee base access relevant payroll information in an easy-to-digest format at a time that works for them.

Personally, I believe that AI can help drive social equity in the workforce, promoting social inclusion and economic growth at the same time. Unlike many technological advances that have widened inequality over the last twenty years, evidence is building to suggest generative AI can reduce inequality by closing the skills gap between high-performing and low-performing workers, helping to take lower-skilled workers up a notch towards the productivity frontier to sit alongside the most productive, high performing or skilled workers.  

In many ways, the advent of AI can be likened to the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution brought about irreversible transformative change that laid the foundations for the world as we know it today. It not only moved the workforce from agricultural to industrial – it also increased the employment opportunity and number of jobs available for both the skilled and the unskilled and allowed society to advance. 

It is important to understand the fundamental shift behind AI is that we are moving from workflow-driven technology to objective-driven technology.  It is a completely new framework for enterprise management and decision-making that challenges traditional ways of working. 

Like the Industrial Revolution, AI will mean that jobs and roles will evolve. I am excited by the new types of jobs that it will create, particularly for medium or low-skilled workers, removing repetitive or mundane tasks and opening new opportunities for this group.

In doing so, generative AI tools can reduce barriers to entry for high-skilled or time-consuming jobs such as software engineering, for example, enabling many more individuals to enter these markets. With greater democratisation and reduced barriers to entry, the diversity of people working in industries should increase promoting inclusive growth.

A leap in productivity should also translate into human well-being. Personally, I am excited about the potential of AI to promote a real change to work-life balance, propelling us forward in terms of efficiency and giving workers more freedom and choice, by removing time-consuming routine tasks. So much of this is dependent on how we choose to value and implement AI, however.

Why is putting people at the centre of AI key to its success?

With the fundamental shift that AI brings, moving us towards objective-driven technology (vs product-driven technology) it is essential to put humans at the centre through guardrails and frameworks that protect ethics, equity and wellbeing.

At EY we believe that a human-centric approach is fundamental to the implementation of AI, not only in building adaptability in people but also in preparing them for change, to encourage confidence, adoption and to future-ready the workforce. In fact, EY research highlights that giving specific focus to human-centric factors, such as fear and anxiety, can increase the probability of business transformation success to more than 70%. When you consider this in the context of Gen AI-driven transformation and investment, this isn’t something to be taken lightly.

To make the most of the possibilities from GenAI, leaders and teams must be able to understand how to use the tool effectively and responsibly, looking at the host of different ways that GenAI will affect people, and proactively managing that change with them. In a successful transformation, human-led support leads to positive outcomes.

Failing to anchor your AI strategy in human realities could put your business at risk of losing out on Gen AI’s full potential, while also opening the door to new risks or vulnerabilities. 

How can organisations invest in training to equip their workforce with the necessary skills?

Reskilling and upskilling should be a major focus for companies and industry. I can't imagine a bigger technological force than AI now that can fundamentally change the way we work.

For employees to work seamlessly alongside AI, they need to be equipped with the right skills.  This means that as businesses adapt their approach to how work gets done, they must upskill, reskill, attract, and retain the right people.

This means AI cannot be seen in isolation from the workforce. To realise the full potential of generative AI — or any technology — organisations need to bring a holistic, people-centred perspective to the world of work. Instead of just focusing on the capabilities of generative AI, it’s important to consider how its use might enhance both the operational and experiential realities of the “next normal”, such as AI’s impact on cyber and compliance for instance.  We know that workers and employers have a desire to skill up, yet a recent EY survey showed that last year, just 17% of employees and only 22% of employers prioritised Gen AI-related skills training. Even if the training is initially focused on improving the overall experience of work, the more workers become familiar and comfortable with generative AI tools, the greater the understanding, awareness, buy-in and better application of them.

And, it is worth mentioning that we need to equip AI with the right skills too! It is important to make sure that the algorithmic bias is addressed, which requires training and learning as AI only knows what we teach it.

If employers do not help workforces adapt there is a risk of leaving workers behind in terms of skills, so there needs to be a determined effort to educate and ensure that everybody is brought up to speed. Implementing regular pulse surveys and ongoing sense checks is one of several ways that a business can temperature-check workforce confidence in the adoption of AI. But I think that given the seismic shift AI presents for society, the need for skilling-up goes beyond the workforce agenda, and that training for the wider population, both through employers and schools should also be a priority. 

What are the ethical implications of AI in the workforce?

My biggest concern about AI is the way AI learns today - the internet is not necessarily a world that we aspire to as humans in terms of values; it is a place full of bias, fake news and increasingly synthetic data. Unfortunately, this is the world AI learns from today. 

It is encouraging to see how quickly the world is reacting, not only through regulation (as global standards are being defined in record time) but also through the technology itself, where we are seeing an increasing effort to address the issues that come with it, such as bias or other associated risks like skills and cyber.

An evolving regulatory framework will help businesses address and mitigate these risks. This includes a set of strong internationally recognised standards that consider both AI's transformative potential and inherent risks.

For this to be achieved we need constructive dialogue between regulators, the public and the private sectors. 

And for that, stakeholders, whether tech leaders, CEOs or policymakers should be prioritising the collaborative and proactive development of AI governance. If left unchecked, its growth could lead to pitfalls, which makes it imperative for businesses to adopt a balanced and considered approach to its use.


Make sure you check out the latest edition of Technology Magazine and also sign up to our global conference series - Tech & AI LIVE 2024


Technology Magazine is a BizClik brand


Featured Interviews


John Bailey

SVP of Technology & Innovation at AVI-SPL

SVP of Technology & Innovation at AVI-SPL, John Bailey, discusses a career driving innovation in communications and AV technology

Read More

Garrett Olson

Wolt’s Head of Insurance and Risk

Technology company Wolt’s Head of Insurance and Risk Garrett Olson explains the insurance needs of Wolt’s 180,000+ courier partners

Read More
We’ve built some unique features into our insurance program specifically because we’ve listened to courier partners in every country
Garrett Olson
Wolt’s Head of Insurance and Risk

Kate Maxwell

Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft’s Worldwide Defense and Intelligence Industry

As the global landscape evolves at an unprecedented pace, Microsoft is helping defence and intelligence clients with game-changing capabilities

Read More

Ashley Naughton

Automotive Logistics Director at McLaren

McLaren Automotive Logistics Director Ashley Naughton on why the company is a perfect match for his skills and passions

Read More

Brigadier Stefan Crossfield

Head of Information Exploitation, Chief Data Officer, Principal AI Officer at British Army

Head of Information Exploitation, Chief Data Officer, Principal AI Officer, British Army

Read More

John Bailey

SVP of Technology & Innovation at AVI-SPL

SVP of Technology & Innovation at AVI-SPL, John Bailey, discusses a career driving innovation in communications and AV technology

Read More