Artificial intelligence, lately described as both a blessing and a boogeyman, will undoubtedly have major repercussions across the spectrum of corporate finance activities. Forecasting, KPI identification, cybersecurity, payments, compliance, and many more are in line for reinvention.
Already influencing an array of organizations in fields as disparate as public transit and Major League Baseball, AI has alarmed rank-and-file employees who fear the new technologies may push them out of their jobs.
Corporate executives, for their part, are indeed concerned about employees’ ability to adjust to AI. According to a new survey of 800 C-suiters by edX and Workplace Intelligence, almost half of the skills that exist in their workforces today will no longer be relevant as soon as two years from now. A similar proportion said they believe employees are unprepared for the future of work, and 87% of the executives said they’re struggling to find talent with AI skills.
However, the executives aren’t worried just about their workers, but also about themselves. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed said they believe AI could mostly or wholly replace their jobs. Specifically among participating CEOs, that same percentage said most or all of their roles should be completely automated or replaced by AI.
Among executives’ responses to these threats is prioritizing their development of AI skills. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) of the survey participants said they’re wary that if they don’t improve in that area, they too will be unprepared for the future of work.
And, despite a wave of practicality among CFOs about the timeline of AI incorporation, more than half of the surveyed executives reported feeling overwhelmed by the integration of AI with existing technology (57%).
Alongside the pressures, though, many executives are looking to embrace AI to lighten their workload. As work-life balance has taken on an unprecedented, prominent role in career considerations among professionals at all levels, many executives who participated in the survey were willing to go a startling step further.
That is, nearly two-thirds (65%) of the executives said they’d like AI to take over some of their job tasks — even if it meant a reduction in their compensation.
According to the survey, many Gen Z members are “secretly” learning AI skills in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage over colleagues. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Gen Z employees acknowledged doing so, versus 50% of all employees.
The drive to earn more through AI may be impacting productivity, data suggests. More than half of surveyed Gen Z employees admitted to using AI to work multiple full-time jobs (61%), do part-time work for another company (57%), and complete job tasks while taking personal credit for the work (55%).
Most executives, though, aren’t terribly concerned about the divide in employees’ attention. To encourage employees to learn about AI and its uses, a large majority (82%) of executives said they favor employees taking on roles that leverage AI at other companies.
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the participating executives said employees who gain AI proficiency should be promoted more often, while 83% said such employees should be paid more.
That might strike a dissonant chord with some employees. The survey respondents also included 800 non-executive knowledge workers, only 24% of whom say they’re even using existing company programs to learn AI skills.