Are UK employees ready for AI in the Workplace?

Recent surveys on employees’ views on new Artificial Intelligence Technology

As the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is rising in a number of different ways of life and industries, questions are being asked as to whether AI can or will be utilised more in the workplace and how this may impact on the current world of work.

People Management has recently undertaken a survey involving over 8,800 professionals and employers to gain an insight into their views on the use of AI in the workplace. The results showed a disparity between employees’ interest in the use of AI technology and its current usage.

Whereas 49% of employees agreed that using AI technology in the workplace should be embraced, only 15% reported using AI in their current role. Employers also appeared eager to use new AI tech, with 66% stating they intended to allow their employees to use AI the future. However, it seems that most employers have not taken steps to introduce AI technology, with only 27% providing AI training for staff.

In terms of using AI technology to monitor employees’ suitability for their role and, once in post, their work and productivity, the trade union Prospect has also recently surveyed its members to identify their concerns regarding increased use of AI in the workplace. This survey suggests that employees are concerned that use of AI technology for crucial HR processes would lead to discriminatory or unfair decision making. 62% of members stated they would feel uncomfortable with hiring and promotion decisions being made by algorithms. Members also voiced their discomfort about new technology being used for monitoring purposes. 59% stated they would be uncomfortable with keystroke monitoring and 69% were uncomfortable with the use of cameras to monitor remote working.

58% of members showed their support for government regulation on the use of generative AI at work. Prospect has called on the government to take action to prevent new technologies resulting in increased abuse of power. Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect trade union, said:

Advances in technology have the potential to bring huge benefits to both employers and workers, but without government setting out clear rules, sinister surveillance and software supervisors could become the norm”.

Whilst introducing the concept of using AI in the workplace may be concerning to some and welcomed by others, both employers and employees will need to “watch this space” in the coming months and years. It may be the case that with further advancements to the technology, AI could become the most common feature in UK workplaces.

To arrange a no obligation confidential chat with a member of BTO’s employment law team, please email or call us on Glasgow: 0141 225 5291 / Edinburgh: 0131 222 2951.

Kate Ross, Trainee Solicitor: 0141 221 8012 / Connect with Kate on LinkedIn

Dawn Robertson, Partner & Accredited Specialist in Employment Law: / 0131 222 3242 / Connect with Dawn on LinkedIn