Over half (53%) of professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles say their employer is not helping to prepare them for the use of AI in the workplace.
Research conducted by Hays, which received over 8,800 responses from professionals and employers across the UK, and nearly 500 responses from professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles, found that only 8% of staff working in these roles have used AI tools such as ChatGPT.
Usage of AI tools remains low
According to the research, over a third (37%) of professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles think we should embrace AI in the workplace. Only 15% of professionals working in these roles believe we should fear AI within the workplace, whilst 48% said they were undecided.
Although nearly a third (32%) of professionals don’t expect AI tools such as ChatGPT to impact their job at all, 12% of professionals expect AI tools to negatively impact their job and almost a quarter (19%) of professionals working in these roles expect AI tools to have a positive impact on their job.
Majority (92%) of people working in business support and PA and EA roles haven’t used AI tools such as ChatGPT, leaving only 8% who have used AI tools in their current role. The research revealed that AI is used significantly more by professionals in other industries, such as marketing (37%).
Upskilling needed to utilise the benefits of AI
Professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles think the main benefits AI could offer organisations are cost savings (38%) and improved productivity (29%).
Professionals cited the costs associated with using AI tools, namely implementation and overall investment, as the top (56%) reason why they believe organisations are not currently using AI, followed by issues around knowledge (54%), such as a lack of awareness or understanding of the benefits.
Almost a third (31%) of professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles believe they do not possess the right skills to enable them to make the best use of AI tools and technology.
Respondents cited an ability to adopt change (71%) and an ability to learn (65%) as the most important soft skills for professionals to have to complement the use of AI in the workplace.
Roddy Adair, Director at Hays specialising in Personal & Executive Assistants, comments: “The extent to which AI will impact the world of work continues to be a hot topic of conversation. However, only a small number (8%) of professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles have used AI tools such as ChatGPT in their current role, and over half of professionals are not getting the support they need to prepare to use AI in the workplace.
More help and training is needed fro PAs and EAs in use of AI
There is a lack of understanding across the business support and PA and EA profession when it comes to how AI can improve productivity and ultimately benefit businesses. Arguably, AI should not be seen as a threat to job security, but rather as an opportunity to add greater value to organisations. The automation of certain tasks, for example, could allow professionals to spend more time on high value tasks and invest in improving their skillsets, to future-proof their careers.
As AI advances at such a rapid pace, it’s crucial for employers to assess how they will keep up and reap the benefits of these developments in technology. To enable professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles to utilise AI tools and technologies, training and upskilling is the way forward.”
About the research: The survey was conducted between 13th April and 9th May 2023 and received 8,853 responses. 3,483 responses were from employers and 5,370 responses were from professionals. Specifically, 476 responses were from professionals working in business support and PA and EA roles.
You may also enjoy reading what ChatGPT had to say when asked about the impact of AI on PAs and EAs.