Australians in denial about impacts of Generative AI: research report

Australians in denial about impacts of Generative AI: research report

Research from RMIT Online in partnership with Deloitte Access Economics released today, reveals Australians lack a crucial understanding as to the extent Generative AI is expected to disrupt their roles.

The ‘Ready, Set, Upskill’ report highlights almost half (47%) of employees have never used Generative AI in their role, and 73% say this is because they don’t believe Generative AI is relevant. This is contrasted to research by the Australian Computer Society which shows 86% of all occupations will be affected.

Additionally, previous research conducted by Deloitte highlights just 5% of Australian businesses are fully prepared to deploy and leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Across a range of digital skills, roughly a third (between 29-36%) of employees said they are lacking fundamental digital skills, or their skill level is out of date, while employers identified AI or machine learning as the top digital skills they lacked within their organisation, followed by data science, coding and cyber security.

The crucial lack of digital skills across the workforce means businesses are willing to pay an 8% premium (or $5,408) for candidates with data and digital skills.

“Generative AI is unlike any past digital disruption. It will continue to transform the way we learn and work, level the playing field and create new roles and job disruptions. The digital skills gap Australia is experiencing has been further exacerbated by the emergence of critical technologies such as AI and we must not be complacent in our attitudes to reskilling and upskilling if we are to keep pace with our international counterparts,” said Nic Cola, CEO at RMIT Online.

The continued increase in demand for digital skills and urgency to remedy digital skills gaps reflect the seismic digital transition across the Australian economy.

“Generative AI capitalises on aspects where traditional learning and development falls short. Therefore, it will play a critical role in Australia’s skills transition. Employers can use Generative AI to create tailored learning and development content for their employees which accelerates their learning speed and retention,” said John O’Mahony, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics.

More than three in four (78%) surveyed employers have either not provided, or are unaware of, Generative AI training in their organisation.

Previous research also shows that the five industries facing a ‘short fuse, big bang’ scenario, where Generative AI has a fast and significant impact, are financial services, ICT and media, professional services, education, and wholesale trade. These industries account for 26% of the Australian economy, equivalent to nearly $600 billion in economic activity.