May 30, 2024

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LinkedIn office on July 26, 2023 in San Francisco, California.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Generative artificial intelligence is seeping into workplaces, and despite fears the technology will replace workers some overwhelmed employees are embracing it for productivity, a new report says.

Three in four workers are using generative AI in the workplace, according to the 2024 Work Trend Index Annual Report by Microsoft and LinkedIn, with 46% saying they started using AI in the last six months. Ninety percent of workers reported using AI saves them time, and 84% said it helps boosts creativity so employees can focus on other work. Meanwhile, 78% of employees across age groups said they are bringing their own AI tools into the office.

Microsoft and LinkedIn surveyed 31,000 people across 31 countries, and analyzed labor and hiring trends to collect data for the report.

“AI is democratizing expertise across the workforce,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “Our latest research highlights the opportunity for every organization to apply this technology to drive better decision-making, collaboration — and ultimately business outcomes.”

One driver of employees using AI tools at work is a struggle to keep up with the pace and volume of their work, with 68% of respondents reporting this challenge and 48% of workers saying they feel burned out.

But 53% of surveyed workers said they are worried that using AI at work for important tasks “makes them look replaceable,” while 52% said they are reluctant to disclose they are using AI at work. Forty-five percent of workers said they fear AI will replace their jobs.

Employers are also worried about AI, but in different ways. While 79% of surveyed business leaders said adopting AI is important to staying competitive, 59% reported feeling worried about quantifying productivity gains from AI. And 60% reported feeling worried their company’s leadership “lacks a plan and vision to implement AI.”

Despite employees’ fears of being replaced by generative AI, the Microsoft and LinkedIn survey found that 66% of business leaders said they wouldn’t hire a person without AI-related skills. And 71% said they would rather hire a less experienced employee with AI skills, rather than a more experienced candidate who lacked AI knowledge.

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