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European Year of Skills
News article14 December 2023Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

What’s Working – Navigating the AI Revolution and the shifting Future of Work

Now in its fourth year, the Global Workforce of the Future research surveys 30,000 individuals across 23 countries and, this year, highlights the transformative impact of Generative AI (GenAI) on the world of work. The study by the Adecco Group delves into various aspects, including workers' perspectives on AI, GenAI adoption, upskilling, well-being, and transferability of skills. 

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Human Skills in the Age of AI 

GenAI is identified as the top workplace trend in 2023, with approximately 70% of workers actively using it and 62% expressing optimism about AI’s potential impact on jobs. However, concerns arise regarding unequal access to GenAI. Executives are adopting GenAI at much higher rates (87% use GenAI) compared to non-managers (52%), high-income (78%) versus low-income workers (60%), and degree holders (76%) versus those with secondary education (51%). Furthermore, 57% of workers want AI training but less than half receiving guidance (46%). 

Despite the increasing importance of AI skills, the research emphasizes the enduring significance of uniquely human skills. Emotional intelligence, empathy, active listening, and interpersonal skills are considered irreplaceable by AI, reinforcing the need to nurture these attributes through coaching, leadership development, and training. 

Evolving Dynamics and Challenges in the Workplace 

The study acknowledges shifts in the employer-employee relationship, noting the end of the 'great resignation.' While 72% of workers express a desire to stay with their current organization (compared to 61% in 2022), this inclination is tied to the availability of upskilling and career opportunities. However, there's a noticeable gap in upskilling, with 45% of non-managers saying their company invests effectively in developing their skills, compared to 74% of leaders. 

Recognizing the evolving job landscape, the research underscores the importance of transferable skills. As AI automation alters roles, 56% of workers believe their skills are transferable to other industries, with variations among tech workers (61%), white-collar workers (57%), and blue-collar workers (49%). 

Burnout remains a pervasive issue, affecting 65% of workers on average. Managers experience higher burnout rates, with reasons including excessive workload, lack of leadership support, and increased responsibilities post-layoffs. Well-being initiatives are emphasized, as 78% of workers feel unable to take breaks at work, and only one-fifth feel encouraged to take annual leave. 

Navigating the Future of Work 

The study concludes with recommendations for future-ready organizations, emphasizing the need to embrace technological advancements, prioritize internal mobility, foster skill development, and champion employee well-being. A people-centric culture that promotes growth, resilience, transparency, and trust is highlighted as essential for attracting and retaining top talent in the evolving landscape of work. 

In the spirit of the European Year of Skills, the Global Workforce of the Future research offers a profound exploration of the challenges and opportunities presented by the AI revolution, which were also the main theme of this year’s European Employment and Social Rights Forum. For a detailed understanding, we encourage you to consult the full research report and actively engage in the conversation around skills in this transformative era.