Business Leaders Embrace AI Despite Employee Concerns

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the workforce, according to a recent survey by conducted by ResumeBuilder, per a PYMNTS report. The survey found that nearly 40% of AI-using business leaders have already replaced workers with AI this year, and 44% anticipate job cuts in the coming year due to the efficiency of AI. 

This dovetails with findings detailed in a joint PYMNTS Intelligence-Billtrust study which shows that business leaders are embracing AI technology, particularly when aiming to modernize and simplify expensive, outdated and manual approaches, which currently make up the majority of business-to-business (B2B) payment procedures.

In fact, 84% of business leaders surveyed in that study believe generative AI will positively impact the workforce, enabling a higher level of customer-centricity and delivering more precise predictions compared to conventional technologies.

Separate PYMNTS Intelligence research, produced in collaboration with AI-ID, has also revealed that nearly 80% of retail industry business leaders rank generative AI as the most impactful emerging technology, with 92% of firms already using the technology to deliver tailored customer experiences in real time. 

But despite these positive views from business leaders and experts, consumers remain hesitant about AI in the workplace, possibly due to concerns about job security and the potential for AI to replace human workers, another PYMNTS Intelligence study has found.

Among the sectors studied, including entertainment, healthcare and banking, consumers exhibit the least enthusiasm for AI involvement in the workplace, with merely 37% displaying interest, per the study. The apprehension surrounding job automation remains significant, as consumers fear that AI could make their skills irrelevant. Interestingly, 7 out of 10 consumers believe that AI is already capable of replacing certain aspects of their professional skill sets.

News of potential job losses give further credence to consumer hesitancy about AI in the workplace. As PYMNTS reported earlier this year, citing research from Goldman Sachs, generative AI technologies like ChatGPT could significantly disrupt the labor market, affecting about 300 million jobs globally.

Goldman’s findings align with previous research from OpenAI, which estimated that GPT models and their associated software tools might impact up to half of the tasks necessary for 19% of the jobs in the U.S.

That said, AI still requires human management and oversight, creating a demand for workers with new skill sets. In the latest “Generative AI Tracker®,” PYMNTS Intelligence found that the scarcity of skilled developer talent presents a significant barrier for businesses, including over 40% of retail businesses aiming to embrace generative AI. 

Against this backdrop, firms face the imperative of investing in talent and training to fully harness AI’s potential and leverage its many benefits.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is stepping in to fill the gap via the introduction of a new initiative called “AI Ready.” The program offers free courses on AI and generative AI for individuals at all proficiency levels and complements 80-plus free AI and generative AI courses and resources already available through AWS, PYMNTS reported last month.

Furthermore, the tech giant has pledged a $12 million investment in generative AI scholarships via its AWS Generative AI Scholarship program to assist over 50,000 high school and university students from underserved communities worldwide. Overall, the objective is to provide no-cost AI skills training to 2 million individuals globally by 2025.

In a Nov. 20 press release, the tech giant emphasized that “artificial intelligence is the most transformative technology of our generation,” and to “unlock the full potential of AI to tackle the world’s most challenging problems, we need to make AI education accessible to anyone with a desire to learn.”