Two-thirds of CEOs rushing GenAI adoption faster than staff can handle

06/06/2024

64 per cent of CEOs are adopting generative AI faster than staff are comfortable with in order to stay ahead of the competition, according to new research from IBM.

However, the survey of 3,000 CEOs found that 65 per cent believe their teams have the skills and knowledge to adopt generative AI, despite few understanding the full impact on how it will impact their workforce and culture.

Former IBM AI lead, and newly appointed Chief Product Officer at Ataccama, Jay Limburn labelled generative AI as a “once-in-a-decade technology disruption.”

Yet CEOs clearly don’t have a full grasp on generative AI’s impact and development, with 58 per cent are hiring for generative AI roles that didn’t exist a year ago.

To capitalise on advancements, 37 per cent are increasing their headcount due to generative AI, while 35 per cent of CEOs admitted that their workforce will require retraining and reskilling over the coming years.

Sheila Flavell CBE, COO of FDM Group, said: “In our ever-evolving digital landscape, AI is dominating how businesses operate in terms of efficiency and growth, and that is impossible for CEOs to ignore. However, AI adoption must be measured and executed in a way that staff are comfortable with in order to mitigate risks. Businesses must prioritise upskilling and training staff in generative AI to ensure they are fully equipped with the skills they need to maximise the benefits in a safe and trustworthy manner.  AI can be transformational, but only with the right skills operating it.”

Sachin Agrawal, Managing Director, Zoho UK commented: “The discussion around safe and trustworthy AI is often directed at regulation but it should also apply to company policies and training to ensure staff are comfortable and confident with using it. AI can deliver great commercial benefits in areas including forecasting, data analysis and customer experience but just like any aspect of business, employees are ultimately responsible for driving success.

“To minimise risks and improve employee experience, CEOs should provide staff with sufficient tech skills and training so everyone within an organisation implements responsible data practices at every stage of AI development. Staff must understand both how it benefits business and also how it can enable them to perform more effectively at work and help them meet their goals. This will encourage trust in the technology and drive up adoption. 

“The competitive edge that AI provides is important, but it is more important to utilise AI safely and ethically with robust regulations and educational guidance.”

Almost two-thirds claimed they were willing to take risks with generative AI to maintain a competitive edge, with 69 per cent saying the productivity gains from automation that they are comfortable taking “significant risk.”

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