27 per cent of UK workers are worried that AI will disrupt their role within two years
Investors in People’s first report on the perceptions held by workers toward Artificial Intelligence has revealed clear trends of concern across the UK workforce. Our survey revealed that over a quarter (27 per cent) of employees are worried that AI will cause disruption to their role within the next two years.
The Artificial Intelligence at Work: Perceptions & Attitudes report suggests that men are more concerned than women that AI will disrupt their role within two years (30 per cent of men compared to 25 per cent of women). However, IIP also found that men are duly more confident that their employer would retrain them if AI were to replace their role, at a proportion of 36 per cent to 31 per cent.
Age was also found to be a factor contribution to perceptions of AI. Just 16 per cent of 18-24 year olds are worried that AI will disrupt their role, compared to 39 per cent of 35-44 year olds. This figure then reverses when it comes to measuring the confidence in an employer’s intention to retrain, with less than a quarter of the UK’s youngest workers feeling confident, compared to 39 per cent of 35-44 year olds.
IIP’s survey also sought to unpick how regionality might influence the level of concern workers feel toward AI and automation. Welsh workers were found to be the least concerned, with just 17 per cent anticipating AI-related disruption to their role, compared to 32 per cent of workers in East Anglia. Employers in London were found to be the best at communicating well when new technology is introduced at work, compared to the West Midlands which was found to be the worst.
The sector feeling most pressure from the perception of coming disruption from AI was Energy & Utilities, where 59 per cent of workers predict some form of AI disruption to their role within two years. Interestingly, the Energy & Utilities sector was also the most likely to feel that their manager lacks the necessary skills to integrate AI into their team (82 per cent).
Of these findings, IIP CEO Paul Devoy said “Our first Artificial Intelligence at Work: Perceptions & Attitudes report has revealed unique insights into how UK workers feel about AI in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, there are channels of concern across certain sectors and regions, however this survey has also revealed a clear national trend. The fact that 27 per cent of workers are worried that AI will disrupt their role within the next two years is a clear signal to employers to manage change effectively. Our survey has given managers the insight necessary to make immediate changes to their internal AI strategy. It is clear that communication is vital in both keeping employees up to date and assuring them that they are valued members of the team, regardless of automation.”