Majority of UAE employees believe AI will alter the way they work

Professionals are optimistic about the technology’s potential to improve their work-life balance, support career progression and productivity, according to LinkedIn

More than half of the UAE’s workforce are already using artificial intelligence in their job, according to research by LinkedIn. Getty Images
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A majority of employees in the UAE (67 per cent) believe that artificial intelligence will bring significant changes to their work within the next year, according to research by professional network LinkedIn.

Seventy-two per cent of employees in the Emirates also expect AI to significantly affect their work in the next five years, the research showed.

More than eight in 10 employees, or 81 per cent, said it is likely that AI would function as an “invisible teammate” that assists them with their work in the next five years, according to LinkedIn, which polled 1,002 professionals aged 18 and above between August 23 and August 29.

“Just as we’ve moved past the pandemic, once again professionals are adapting to another wave of change as generative AI becomes more prominent in the workplace,” said Ali Matar, growth markets leader for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and head of LinkedIn Mena.

“Workers in the UAE are focusing on the many benefits AI can bring to their working lives, including more time to focus on the work they care about and helping with career progression.”

One in four jobs is expected to change in the next five years as generative AI “comes of age”, creating and destroying millions of jobs in the process, the World Economic Forum said in May.

In its global survey of 803 companies, the WEF found that employers expect a structural labour market churn of 23 per cent in the next five years.

Meanwhile, 18 per cent of work globally could be automated by AI, with a bigger impact on developed than emerging markets, a Goldman Sachs report said in March.

In the US, a quarter of current work tasks could be automated by AI, with sectors most at risk including the administrative (46 per cent) and legal (44 per cent) professions. Physically intensive professions such as construction and maintenance have low exposure, according to Goldman Sachs.

A January survey by communications advisers duke+mir, in association with YouGov, found that more than half of UAE workers worry they will lose their jobs to robots or AI over the next 10 years.

The poll of about 1,000 residents revealed younger people are more concerned about how advancing technology will influence their career prospects.

In 2017, the UAE rolled out an AI strategy, UAE 2031, outlining plans to use the technology to make governance more efficient and naming eight sectors it aims to transform, including space, renewable energy, water and education.

LinkedIn’s data showed a significant 21-fold increase in global, English-language job listings mentioning AI technology, including ChatGPT, since November last year.

More than half, or 54 per cent, of the UAE’s workforce are already using AI in their job, with 41 per cent trying out AI tools such as ChatGPT, according to LinkedIn research.

The lack of knowledge about AI is not stopping UAE professionals from wanting to experiment with the technology.

Although 30 per cent of employees in the Emirates have not been provided with any formal AI training from their employer, 59 per cent want to learn more, even if they do not know where to start, the survey found.

UAE professionals are optimistic about the potential AI can bring to their careers, with 98 per cent saying they are excited to use the technology for work while 97 per cent believe it will help their career progression in some way.

Many employees are already thinking of ways AI can help them to be more productive, with 82 per cent saying that the technology will improve their work-life balance, the LinkedIn survey found.

About seven in 10 employees, or 67 per cent, plan to use AI for boring work tasks and to answer questions they are too embarrassed to ask colleagues, while 63 per cent plan to use it for career advice, the research said.

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While 45 per cent of employees in the UAE feel their colleagues know more about AI than they do, 48 per cent have admitted to pretending they know more about AI to appear “in the know” in front of teammates, the findings showed.

Employees in the UAE also believe interpersonal skills such as problem solving, time-management, resilience and strategic thinking will become even more important as AI grows in prominence, LinkedIn said.

Updated: September 13, 2023, 7:16 AM