Peninsula Group AI survey: security biggest concern for employers

September 6, 2023


Peninsula Group survey reveals almost three-quarters of UK employers have yet to incorporate AI into the workplace.

According to a new survey, almost three-quarters of UK employers have yet to incorporate AI into the workplace.

Despite well-publicised fears around ‘AI taking over’, just 1% of UK employers say that AI plays a large part in their business, and only 5% say it’s regularly used.

Peninsula Group survey highlights opportunities and concerns

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

30% 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%) or creative writing (35%). 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.

Other key findings include:

  • Ireland has embraced AI the most of the five countries surveyed, with 10% of Irish employees saying it’s regularly used in their business – double that of Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.
  • Only a third of employers believe AI has the potential to positively transform many workplaces.
  • 40% of employers globally believe people are irreplaceable in their business.

Over half of employers are either unsure or believe that AI will probably reduce the number of people employed at their company at some point.

Commenting on the findings, 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.

“What is surprising is the low percentage of employers who are currently embracing AI. Australia leads the way with 41% of businesses currently using AI in some way or another, compared to the UK where only 26% of businesses have started to use AI. I expected this to be much higher.

“The concerns around security are interesting; this may be down to current UK legislations, with employers not wanting to risk being hit with heavy fines.

“It’s also surprising that over 50% 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.

“I believe that AI can be a great tool when used alongside people rather in place of them. So, I was interested to see that a third of employers believe that AI will reduce the number of employees at their company. AI is only as good as the way it is programmed, and there can be no substitute for knowledge and personal insight.

“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. Speeding up processes and freeing up people’s time to concentrate on providing the best service to clients, using their knowledge to solve complex problems with the personal touch and human interaction that is so valuable, even in this digital age.”

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