Growth and innovation vs job displacement
The study – published in the HR Director – surveyed 301 HR leaders and found that younger respondents and those in larger companies were far more excited about the potential of AI tools compared to their older and smaller business counterparts. This disparity highlights a growing generational divide in attitudes towards AI, with younger workers more likely to see it as an opportunity for growth and innovation, while older workers are more apprehensive about the potential for job displacement.
The report also found that UK companies in general were less enthusiastic about AI compared to their peers in Australia and New Zealand. This suggests that the UK may be falling behind in its efforts to become a global leader in AI technology, despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's ambitious pledge to do so.
"The report raises a red flag for UK SMEs," warned Ben Thompson, CEO of Employment Hero, the company that conducted the study. "In a hypercompetitive global economy, where AI adoption is rapidly transforming industries, businesses that fail to leverage the power of AI risk falling behind their international competitors."
Thompson urged HR professionals to overcome their fears about AI and embrace it as a transformative tool that can augment human capabilities, rather than replace them. "AI is about augmenting human capabilities, not replacing humans," he said. "To foster entrepreneurship and drive innovation in the UK, HR professionals must actively embrace AI as a transformative tool."
The report's findings come as the UK government seeks to position itself as a global leader in AI. Prime Minister Sunak recently hosted a summit at Bletchley Park, the birthplace of codebreaking during World War II, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the AI revolution.
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