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One in three European companies has invested in AI, and one in five people fear that AI could replace them at work

TECHNOLOGYOne in three European companies has invested in AI, and one in five people fear that AI could replace them at work

One in five employees in Europe fears that artificial intelligence might replace them in most of their professional tasks. SD Worx, a leading European HR solutions provider, conducted a survey on the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace among over 5,000 companies and 18,000 employees in 18 European countries. The survey indicates that while AI implementations are increasing, European HR directors do not perceive artificial intelligence as a significant challenge in 2024.

From private life to the workplace, the application of artificial intelligence is seen almost everywhere, and European companies are aware of this. One in three European companies has already invested in AI in the workplace. This is particularly true for Poland (42%), Romania (40%), and Italy (36%). Companies in Finland (25%) seem to assign less importance to artificial intelligence.

It is noteworthy that European companies do not consider integrating artificial intelligence with HR activities as a major challenge. Only 8% of surveyed HR directors listed it among the top five HR challenges this year. Far more important to them are the well-being of team members (37%), recruitment (34%), employee retention (33%), and flexible working arrangements adopted by the organization (27%).

Among all surveyed companies, those operating in France (12%), Germany, Romania, and Sweden (11% each) see the most significant problems with integrating AI into HR activities. It is also worth noting that large organizations perceive the process of integrating AI-based solutions with existing systems as a significant challenge.

One in five people fears that artificial intelligence will take over their job
While most companies do not see AI as a major challenge, employees perceive it differently. One in five surveyed employees fears that generative AI and other types of AI will take over a significant number of their tasks. This percentage rises to 35% among employees who already work with generative AI and other types of AI. The SD Worx survey also shows that currently, one in six employees regularly uses artificial intelligence in their work. Seven out of ten (73%) employees using artificial intelligence consider this technology valuable in their work and claim that it makes them feel much more productive.

At the same time, among the surveyed HR directors, only 29% expect that AI will render some job positions and specializations redundant.

“Talking about artificial intelligence, it’s worth noting that it has actually been with us for a long time—any solution that allows devices to assist us in our daily work. Assist, but not replace, because AI—whether in the form of a chatbot, image generator, or predictive analytics tool—creates nothing on its own and relies only on the data fed into it. Therefore, instead of fearing artificial intelligence, it is better to invest in knowledge and skills that allow us to harness the potential of AI in our daily work,” says Paulina Zasempa, People Country Lead at SD Worx Poland.

Two out of ten European companies use artificial intelligence in their payroll processes
What functions, capabilities, and features are essential in payroll software? Among 15 responses given by HR directors, artificial intelligence ranked last. Only 22% of them indicated that AI technology is used in their payroll process. However, companies in Poland (33%) once again ranked high in readiness and openness to using AI in HR and payroll departments.

In the payroll process, artificial intelligence is most often used to monitor regulations and make adjustments as needed, such as in the case of legislative changes (39%), followed by continuous data validation (34%), employee classification and other data (34%), and detecting and correcting discrepancies (33%).

“Artificial intelligence can create significant value by increasing efficiency, speeding up customer service, or generating valuable information that HR managers can use effectively,” says Tom Saeys, COO at SD Worx. “Achieving the right balance between technology, such as artificial intelligence, and human support is essential. We encourage our clients and collaborators to look at innovations and adapt them. We are convinced that this will not be at the expense of jobs, but on the contrary—it will create additional positions. However, this phenomenon requires both companies and employees to adopt a different approach—continuous professional development and lifelong learning so that they can fully realize their potential.”

About the Survey

The survey was conducted in February 2024 in 18 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Croatia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. A total of 5,118 companies and 18,000 employees were surveyed. The results are weighted and guarantee a reliable representation of the labor market in each country.

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