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Only five per cent of UK businesses regularly use AI, survey finds

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According to a new survey from Manchester’s Peninsula Group, almost three-quarters of UK employers have yet to incorporate AI into the workplace, despite high-profile tales of AI ‘taking over.’

The survey found that just one per cent of UK employers say that AI plays a large part in their business, and only five per cent say it’s regularly used.

Global employment law, HR, and health & safety advisory and consultancy firm Peninsula surveyed 79,000 businesses across five countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK – to look at the opportunities and concerns employers have around the use of AI in the workplace.

30 per cent of employers globally cite security risk as their biggest concern around AI in the workplace. Increased margin of error, impact on the team’s work quality and/or productivity, and the risk of losing intellectual property also ranked high on the list of concerns.

Where businesses have incorporated AI into the business, the majority are using it for administrative tasks (40 per cent) or creative writing (35 per cent). A third of businesses in Ireland that use AI are using it for customer services, while a quarter of Australian employers and a third of Canadian employers are using AI to draft internal or company communications.

Ireland has embraced AI the most of the five countries surveyed, with 10 per cent of Irish respondents saying it’s regularly used in their business, double that of Canada, New Zealand, and the UK, while more than 50 per cent of employers in Australia, Canada, and Ireland who use AI said they are unsure of its impact and 40 per cent of employers globally believed people are irreplaceable in their business.

Peninsula Group chief operations officer Alan Price said: “Throughout history, mechanical and technological advances have played a significant role in the changing face of industry, streamlining processes, reducing labour costs, and increasing productivity. AI is the latest in a long line of innovations – and it’s clear from these results that employers’ opinions are divided.

“While many can see the benefits of AI, there are still significant concerns around security, productivity, and intellectual property that need to be addressed before we will see widespread implementation across global businesses. With online security and data protection being a top priority for most employers, this is not a big surprise.

“It’s also surprising that over 50 per cent of employers who have already brought AI into the workplace are unsure of the impact it is having. This raises questions around the credibility of AI. With many respondents concerned about errors, quality, and security, it appears that more adoption time is needed to explore the avenues for businesses to best integrate AI solutions into their workflows.”

Price added that in his opinion AI is best when used alongside people, rather than in place of them: “AI is only as good as the way it is programmed, and there can be no substitute for knowledge and personal insight,” he said.

“We’ve seen that here at Peninsula with our BrAInbox, Lightning, and Genius platforms providing quick and instant answers to HR and Health & Safety questions, backed up by expert advisors.

“It’s this combination of AI and personal knowledge that I think will be most valuable to employers as we see more and more integration and uptake in businesses around the world.”

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