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72% of Top CHROs See AI Replacing Jobs — And Workers Aren't Ready

72% of Top CHROs See AI Replacing Jobs — And Workers Aren't Ready

by Heather Barrett and Ryan Pendell

Seventy-two percent of Fortune 500 CHROs foresee AI replacing jobs in their organization in the next three years. According to Gallup’s recent survey of 135 leaders in Gallup’s CHRO Roundtable, human resource leaders are also hopeful about the utility of AI, with 65% saying it can be used to improve the performance of most roles in their organization.

Why Leaders Want It

What types of improvement are leaders thinking of? Their top answers include:

  1. Increased efficiency
  2. Increased effectiveness
  3. Greater speed
  4. Better decision-making
  5. More opportunities for workers to focus on strategic thinking

Workers Aren’t Ready

Meanwhile, findings from recent Gallup surveys of U.S. employees point to a workforce that is not prepared for the coming AI transition:

  1. Few are digging in to AI. Only one in 10 employees report they currently use AI at least weekly, while two in 10 use it less frequently. Seven in 10 say they never use it.
  2. Most don’t feel prepared for AI. Relatedly, more than half of employees (53%) say they don’t feel prepared to work with AI, robotics or other advanced technologies. Twenty-six percent say they are “not at all prepared.”
  3. Most remain complacent about replacement. Even as tools like ChatGPT have accelerated AI conversations in the boardroom, few workers -- just 14% this year -- think it’s “somewhat” or “very” likely their job could be eliminated in the next five years due to new technology, automation, robots or AI. That’s little different from the 13% who said the same in 2019.
  4. Most are also skeptical of AI’s potential. In contrast to CHROs’ optimism about AI’s contribution to the workplace, most workers are skeptical AI can be used to improve how work gets done. Just three in 10 agree it can be beneficial.

Bottom Line

Leaders believe in AI. They like its potential for improving business fundamentals. And they are planning to use it, even if it means eliminating jobs. Unless leaders communicate their vision and implement support, workers will be blindsided.

  • For workers who will use AI to be more productive: Leaders need to provide development opportunities and support. Don’t assume what’s obvious to you is obvious to your team. Don’t assume they will be prepared.
  • For workers who will see AI replace their role: Gallup data suggest employee backlash is likely. But there’s still time to prepare. Education and reskilling resources for those leaving may be appropriate and a way to manage reputational risk.

The one question leaders need to ask: How am I preparing my people now to get the most from the AI transition?

Prepare your employees for change.


Heather Barrett is a Director at Gallup.

Ryan Pendell is a Senior Workplace Science Editor at Gallup.

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