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According to a recent survey conducted by KPMG, the impact of generative AI on business operations is rapidly growing, with profound implications for the workforce. The survey findings reveal that a substantial 72% of respondents believe that GenAI has the potential to significantly enhance productivity within their organizations. Additionally, 66% of participants anticipate a transformation in the future work landscape, while 62% recognize the ability of AI to stimulate innovation and facilitate the development of novel products and services.
The company believes that these results underscore the increasing importance of GenAI in driving organizational success and fostering creativity and progress.
“Strategic tasks are set to benefit most from AI implementation,” Felicia Lyon, KPMG’s principal of human capital advisory, told VentureBeat. “Individuals will benefit from having more time to focus on these tasks as more tactical tasks are automated and an enhanced ability to perform them due to the ease of access to supporting information and capabilities (that is, analytics).”
Caution around generative AI
While acknowledging the positive aspects, participants in the survey also remained cautious about potential negative implications linked to the adoption of generative AI.
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Specifically, 47% of respondents express concerns around job security, while 41% worry about limited opportunities for career advancement. Furthermore, almost two-fifths (39%) of executives anticipate a rise in antisocial behavior in the workplace due to reduced social interactions.
Lyon said these findings highlight the need for careful consideration and proactive measures to address the potential challenges of integrating GenAI into organizational settings.
“Companies are addressing these concerns by deconstructing jobs and taking a skills-based view of the work,” said Lyon. “Companies can see where they have skill adjacencies and can move employees into new roles, and they can see where they need to upskill their employees so they can fill other positions and roles within the company.”
Generative AI’s impact on workplace talent and jobs
The study reveals that implementing GenAI requires acquiring new talent and upskilling of existing employees, as noted by 66% of those surveyed.
In fact, 71% of these executives believe that the IT/tech function will need to hire and train employees to ensure seamless integration. Therefore, during the implementation phase, executives prioritize skills in AI, machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), text-to-speech and speech-to-text.
However, even though respondents acknowledge the requirement to hire and train employees for implementation, only 12% believe that their workforce is proficient enough to adopt.
Furthermore, a quarter of U.S. executives do not have a clear people strategy for integrating their workforce with generative AI capabilities, while nearly a third anticipate resistance from employees during the adoption and integration phases.
Cultivating responsible AI
Lyon emphasized the importance of cultivating a culture of responsible AI usage in hiring and upskilling employees. She said that organizations can maintain market trust and enhance internal employee branding by assisting employees in comprehending the optimal methods for harnessing AI for business objectives.
“It is important to distinguish between the skills needed for IT to develop and sustain the technology safely, and the skills needed by the broader workforce to adopt AI as well as to identify opportunities to leverage AI,” Lyon explained.
She added: “As organizations navigate this shift, it is important to ensure their skills ecosystem enables leaders to quickly analyze the workforce’s current and future skills (based on hiring plans, attrition, learning). Furthermore, a consistent approach to measuring skills proficiency will be critical to making informed decisions.”
Creating jobs with GenAI
The survey also explores the potential for job creation through generative AI. A significant 76% of U.S. executives anticipate a positive impact on IT and software-related roles with widespread adoption. The top three job categories expected to benefit include IT and software-related jobs, creative jobs and customer service jobs.
However, administrative roles involving tasks such as data entry and record keeping are projected to face the most significant negative impact across sectors and functions, according to 64% of respondents.
While 20% of respondents express optimism about generative AI’s positive impact on manufacturing jobs, 24% (including more than 33% of respondents from both the consumer and retail and industrial manufacturing sectors) believe that AI adoption will adversely affect such jobs.
“Today, AI can write code and simulate testing at scale; AI-powered chatbots and synthetic voice solutions can take on large portions of customer service and create images/videos,” said Lyon. “A large portion of tasks within these jobs will be done by AI, increasing speed, quality and efficiency at scale.”
Human expertise vital
At the same time, Lyon said, “the need for human expertise and input will remain vital in ensuring the successful integration and operation of AI systems — that is, developing prompts that add value to the operating model, handling complex requests, and initial creative idea generation.”
Organizations should approach major disruptions pragmatically, she said, proactively upskilling or reskilling employees whose jobs may become obsolete, allowing them to adapt to new demands and facilitating inter-company mobility.
“Employees working in administrative jobs tend to have a broad knowledge of the organization and its operations,” said Lyon. “That knowledge, combined with up- or reskilling, will enable the individuals to be repurposed more easily in the organization. To support employees through this change, organizations should re-think their career paths to accommodate these transitions and fine-tune their learning ecosystem to enable them. Furthermore, job replacement assistance programs may be installed in case of no future fit.”
A future of new opportunities with generative AI
According to Lyon, AI will fundamentally reshape business models, offering new avenues for growth, efficiency and innovation, all of which require proactive engagement from the workforce. As a result, she believes that adopting AI will rapidly transition from a competitive advantage to an essential requirement.
“For optimum AI adoption, data and AI literacy is key,” she said. “Hence, employees need to be trained and rewarded to work with the new technology and subsequently integrate it to the point where experimentation becomes a structural tool to continuously unlock potential. Additional roles will emerge that help ensure the quality, data privacy, cyber security and ethics associated with AI solutions.”
Lyon notes that the implementation of generative AI is still in its early stages. She suggests that organizations assess talent strategies by developing a compelling value proposition for tech talent to enhance AI practices. Moreover, organizations should explore ways to acknowledge and reward responsible AI usage.
“Who knows better how to streamline the work than the person doing the work?” said Lyon. “Above all, it will be important for leaders to set the tone — to share the vision of how they want to leverage AI for good in their organization, in service of their customers. By being out in front, the leader can inspire trust in the workforce and help the employees see a vision for the future.”
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