New findings from a recent survey by Avanade, a leading provider of digital and cloud solutions, reveals Australia as a global front-runner in adopting artificial intelligence (AI) in workplaces. The AI Readiness survey, comprising over 3,000 global business and IT leaders' responses, found that 76% of Australian businesses use AI daily. This value shows a significant lead compared to the worldwide rate of 57%.
The survey explored several crucial areas of AI adoption, including its impact on human roles and organisational priorities. Notwithstanding fears about job losses due to AI, the survey evidence pointed otherwise. Two out of five Australian businesses anticipate that AI will either maintain or raise the number of human roles at their firms by 2024. In addition, the majority of surveyed Australian businesses envisage a headcount surge up to 9% during the same period. This optimistic view about job growth highlights the welcomed integration of AI in Australian workplaces.
However, the adoption of AI tools, such as Microsoft Copilot, does mean employees will need to learn new skills. The survey stated that by 2024, employees must acquire some new skills or a completely new skill set to work effectively with AI tools. This perspective was echoed by more than two-thirds (70%) of the respondents. Moreover, a massive 96% of them believed their businesses must transition to an AI-first operating model within a year to meet competitiveness and customer standards. Such upscaling signifies a profound commitment to the AI-first vision in Australia.
The survey findings also illuminate crucial aspects of AI-readiness in organisations. A majority (96%) of participants are optimistic about the perceived impact of AI. Interestingly, in terms of leadership understanding of AI and its governance, Australian respondents demonstrated a high confidence rating at 67%, leaving the US behind at 58%. Furthermore, an encouraging 87% of surveyed Australian firms have implemented complete or partial guidelines/protocols for responsible AI deployment.
According to Florin Rotar, Chief AI Officer at Avanade, business and IT executives exhibit an overall enthusiasm for leveraging business value with AI. However, he also acknowledges that employees must equip themselves with the required skills to utilise AI effectively. He warns leaders to brace for an AI-first future by crafting comprehensive and responsible strategies on the topic.
Similarly, Lourens Swanepoel, Data and AI Lead at Avanade Australia, seconds these views, stating that AI will continue redefining how people work, collaborate, and create. He finds it heartening that Australian firms are ready to embrace AI to augment their work. Yet, he also stresses the need for a skilled workforce that can interact with AI systems responsibly to unlock AI's true potential.
The intriguing insights from Avanade's AI Readiness survey offer a snapshot into the growing embrace of AI in Australian workplaces, showcasing the nation's significant lead over global counterparts. Nonetheless, the findings underscore the importance of a simultaneous effort in upscaling workforce skills to ensure meaningful and responsible AI integration.