Canadian employees are feeling a mixture of emotions about the use of generative artificial intelligence, with 27 per cent saying it will have a positive impact on their career and 17 per cent worried it will make their skills obsolete, according to a new survey by Robert Half Inc.
The survey, which polled more than 1,000 Canadian workers, also found 32 per cent felt generative AI will have no impact on their job prospects and a quarter are unsure.
Among different age groups, generation Zers (46 per cent) and millennials (36 per cent) were more optimistic about generative AI than generation Xers (20 per cent) and baby boomers (16 per cent). As well, 63 per cent of gen Z respondents said they use or plan to use AI to help improve their LinkedIn Corp. or online profiles, while 60 per cent said they use or plan to use it for assistance with cover letters, interview preparation and job searches.
“Generative AI comes with many questions about both its potential and its risks and it’s natural for professionals and businesses to have mixed feelings about its impact,” said David King, senior managing director of Robert Half for Canada and South America, in a press release. “Understanding how it can be leveraged for both workers’ and employers’ benefit, along with considering its drawbacks, is crucial at this time.”
In terms of the greatest benefits of using generative AI on the job, employees cited automating time-consuming tasks (36 per cent) and increasing efficiency and productivity (24 per cent).
“Being receptive to the potential of generative AI — such as alleviating time-consuming routine tasks and freeing up bandwidth for more stimulating projects — is important,” said King. “However, it will require the implementation of clear guidelines and best practices to ensure responsible use.”
In a separate survey, Canadian executives estimated 42 per cent of their workforce will need to reskill as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years.
The global study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, which polled 3,000 global C-suite executives across 28 countries, also found more respondents said they’re investing in reskilling internally (58 per cent) as opposed to hiring from outside (43 per cent).
As well, Canadian executives reported people skills like time management and the ability to prioritize (44 per cent), analytics skills with business acumen (41 per cent) and ethics and integrity (39 per cent) are the most important today.
“Canada continues to face serious workforce shortages and AI is our best opportunity to tackle this challenge as we reimagine how work gets done,” said Dave McCann, president of IBM Canada, in a press release. “As AI becomes more pervasive and adoption accelerates across business, it is critical for leaders to set a plan that leverages people as a core competitive advantage. Taking these steps now in Canada is critical to ensure our industries and organizations maintain leadership and are not left behind.”