The adoption of AI and automation is poised to bring about a substantial transformation in the realm of work. This transformation is so profound that executives in Singapore are forecasting that around 40% of their workforce will need to undergo reskilling within the upcoming three years as a direct consequence of AI and automation integration.
According to a recent global study carried out by the IBM Institute for Business Value, the top two pressing concerns identified by surveyed executives in Singapore are the availability of external skills and the development of new skills for their existing workforce.
Among the respondents, a preference for reskilling (62%) was observed, while hiring from external sources (38%) ranked as a secondary option.
The recently conducted study titled ‘Augmented Work for an Automated, AI-Driven World’ also unveiled that the impact of generative AI will be experienced by workers across all hierarchical levels. However, among the US executive respondents representing multinational companies, 77% indicated that entry-level positions are already witnessing the influence of this technology. In contrast, only 22% of those surveyed reported similar effects on executive or senior management roles.
The study identified a disparity between employers and employees regarding their priorities in the workplace. As AI becomes increasingly capable of handling manual and repetitive tasks, the survey revealed that 46% of employees in the Asia Pacific region consider engaging in meaningful and impactful work to be their primary concern, surpassing factors like compensation and job security.
This preference even ranked higher than flexible work arrangements, growth opportunities, and financial equity. Interestingly, this perspective isn't shared by employers. In Singapore, surveyed executives ranked impactful work as the least significant factor for their workforce. Instead, they emphasized attributes such as flexible work arrangements and clear performance metrics as being more important than compensation and job security.
“Generative AI is driving massive shifts in employee roles and skills, especially those in entry- level. The focus on skills is, however, not enough as true progress requires reimagining work itself,” said Lai Yee Ng, Manager Partner of IBM Consulting, Singapore.
“The enterprise of tomorrow cannot run with yesterday’s talent, and it’s time to prepare the workforces for new applications of AI. Combining human expertise and knowledge of complex business processes with AI tools will enable companies to create new opportunities and accomplish business outcomes faster than before,” she added.