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Survey: Majority of business leaders in HK embrace AI as tool to empower employees

Survey: Majority of business leaders in HK embrace AI as tool to empower employees

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The majority of business leaders in Hong Kong (88%) recognise the need for new skills among employees they hire to prepare for the growth of AI, underscoring the urgency of developing an "AI mindset", according to a Microsoft study.

Comissioned by Microsoft, the Work Trend Index survey was conducted by Edelman Data x Intelligence among 31,000 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Malaysia and Indonesia between 1 February and 14 March. The survey points to three urgent insights business leaders should know as they look to quickly and responsibly adopt AI.

According to the survey, 76% of people in Hong Kong say they don’t have enough time and energy to get their work done, and they are more likely to say they struggled with being innovative. Of the time spent on Microsoft 365, the average person spends 57% communicating and only 43% creating. And the number one productivity disruption is inefficient meetings. It shows that digital debt is costing workers innovation and volume of data, and emails and chats have outpaced their ability to process it all.

The findings also revealed that there is a new AI-employee alliance. While 69% of respondents in Hong Kong say they’re worried AI will replace their jobs, 83% would assign as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads. In Hong Kong, four in five people would be comfortable using AI not just for administrative tasks but also for analytical work and creative aspects of their role. Business leaders are 1.4x more likely to say that AI would be most valuable in their workplace by boosting productivity rather than cutting headcount.

Furthermore, 88% of leaders in Hong Kong anticipate that employees will need new skills in the AI era. 80% of people in Hong Kong say that they currently lack the right capabilities to get their work done. It shows that every employee, not just AI experts, will need new core competencies such as prompt engineering in their day-to-day work.

Don't miss: Survey: Majority of HK companies say AI cannot replace human in app development

In response to the way businesses understand the adoption of  AI for their organisations, Microsoft has suggested business leaders to prepare their data estate and equip their employees with the skills to be AI-ready. Cultivating a growth mindset culture within an organisation is the key to transformation, engagement and innovation. This requires a concerted effort for both leadership and employees to encourage experimentation and learning from failures, valuating collaboration and continuous learning over individual knowledge.

Moreover, companies may grow AI literacy and skills across their organisation, as employees need to have a basic understanding of Cloud and AI concepts and how they apply AI to solve business problems and use it responsibly. Companies should also have a trusted and secure infrastructure in place for data security and privacy protection, including data encryption, access controls, and monitoring. Meanwhile, companies may start small by adding simple AI features to their existing apps and gradually build up their capabilities over time.

“AI is set to revolutionise the way we work as it moves from autopilot to copilot, freeing us from digital debt and fueling innovation. As a first step to embrace AI, we encourage organisations to migrate to a more integrated and secured enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure. With new ways of working, we hope every organization can do more with less,” said Cally Chan, general manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau.

“While AI will power a whole new way of working for everyone, business leaders should understand how these emerging technologies will fundamentally change the nature of work and improve efficiency to drive productivity. As AI technology continues to develop, upskilling will become increasingly important to stay competitive. Both business leaders and employees should take advantage of these opportunities and adapt to the new way of work,” said Maria Hui, chief operating officer of Microsoft Hong Kong.

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