Firms on both sides of the pond are sluggish in uptake of generative AI

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UK companies believe there is much greater urgency to adopt Generative AI at work than US companies - yet uptake remains sluggish in both marketsOne year on from the launch of Chat GPT, new data from Slack based on 10,000 global workers (including 1,000 the UK) suggests that UK companies believe there is much greater urgency to adopt Generative AI at work than US companies – yet uptake remains sluggish in both markets. According to the study, 61 percent of UK workers believe there is a high or existential need to incorporate Generative AI into work compared to just 44 percent of US workers who feel the same.

In fact, globally, UK workers are most likely to say that there is a high or existential need for Generative AI at work – meaning that they are most likely to believe it should be implemented in the next 18 months to 3 years. This is higher than employees in Australia (57 percent), Japan (55 percent), US (44 percent), Germany (41 percent)  and France (33 percent).

However, despite expressing an urgent need for roll out, only 19 percent of UK employees have actually used AI tools at work, the lowest of any country surveyed, alongside the U.S – suggesting this urgency hasn’t been met with action.

Key AI related findings:

  • 15 percent of UK workers believe there is an existential need for AI at work, meaning they plan to incorporate it in the next 18 months – compared to just 5 percent of US companies.
  • Despite the perceived need for urgency in adopting AI, UK workers are less likely than other countries to say the technology is improving productivity (68 percent). This falls behind the US (72 percent) as well as Australia (76 percent)
  • Germany is the country most likely to say that AI is improving productivity (81 percent), despite it’s more relaxed approach to rolling out the technology

Other findings from the study explore how workers are spending their days, and how it may be costing individuals and organisations. According to the data, UK workers who log off at the end of the work day register 10 percent higher productivity scores than those who feel obligated to work after hours, versus 12 percent higher in the US. However, US workers prefer more ‘focus time’. US respondents said that the ideal amount of focus time to work was just under five hours a day, compared to around four hours for the UK.

Other productivity related findings include:

  • More than two hours a day in meetings is the tipping point at which a majority of UK and US workers say they’re spending “too much time” in meetings
  • 76 percent of UK workers and 68 percent of US workers report working in the 3-6pm timeframe, but only 24 percent in the UK and 30 percent in the US consider these hours highly productive – suggesting the afternoon slump is real
  • Almost half (45 percent) of both UK and US workers rarely or never take breaks