Microsoft chairman Satya Nadella: AI is democratizing expertise across the workforce

Microsoft and LinkedIn release the 2024 Work Trend Index on the state of AI at work. New data shows most employees are experimenting with AI and growing their skills.

By  Storyboard18May 14, 2024 9:08 AM
Microsoft chairman Satya Nadella: AI is democratizing expertise across the workforce
Use of generative AI at work has nearly doubled in the past six months. LinkedIn is seeing a significant increase in professionals adding AI skills to their profiles, and most leaders say they wouldn’t hire someone without AI skills.

Microsoft Corp. and LinkedIn released the 2024 Work Trend Index, a joint report on the state of AI at work titled, “AI at work is here. Now comes the hard part.” The research — based on a survey of 31,000 people across 31 countries, labor and hiring trends on LinkedIn, trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, and research with Fortune 500 customers — shows how, just one year in, AI is influencing the way people work, lead and hire around the world.

Microsoft also announced new capabilities in Copilot for Microsoft 365, and LinkedIn made free more than 50 learning courses for LinkedIn Premium subscribers designed to empower professionals at all levels to advance their AI aptitude, the companies said in a statement.

The data is in: 2024 is the year AI at work gets real. Use of generative AI at work has nearly doubled in the past six months. LinkedIn is seeing a significant increase in professionals adding AI skills to their profiles, and most leaders say they wouldn’t hire someone without AI skills. But with many leaders worried their company lacks an AI vision, and employees bringing their own AI tools to work, leaders have reached the hard part of any tech disruption: moving from experimentation to tangible business impact.

“AI is democratizing expertise across the workforce,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “Our latest research highlights the opportunity for every organization to apply this technology to drive better decision-making, collaboration — and ultimately business outcomes.”

The report highlights three insights every leader and professional needs to know about AI’s impact on work and the labor market in the year ahead:

Employees want AI at work — and won’t wait for companies to catch up: Seventy-five percent of knowledge workers now use AI at work. Employees, many of them struggling to keep up with the pace and volume of work, say AI saves time, boosts creativity, and allows them to focus on their most important work. But although 79% of leaders agree AI adoption is critical to remain competitive, 59% worry about quantifying the productivity gains of AI and 60% say their company lacks a vision and plan to implement it. So, employees are taking things into their own hands. 78% of AI users are bringing their own tools to work — Bring Your Own AI (BYOAI) — missing out on the benefits that come from strategic AI use at scale and putting company data at risk. The opportunity for every leader is to channel this momentum into business impact at scale.

For employees, AI raises the bar and breaks the career ceiling: Although AI and job loss are top of mind for many, the data offers a more nuanced view — one with a hidden talent shortage, employees eyeing a career change, and massive opportunity for those willing to skill up on AI. A majority of leaders (55%) are concerned about having enough talent to fill roles this year with leaders in cybersecurity, engineering and creative design feeling the pinch most. And professionals are looking. Forty-six percent across the globe are considering quitting in the year ahead — an all-time high since the Great Reshuffle of 2021. A separate LinkedIn study found U.S. numbers to be even higher with 85% eyeing career moves. Although two-thirds of leaders (66%) wouldn’t hire someone without AI skills, only 39% of users have received AI training from their company and only 25% of companies expect to offer it this year. So, professionals are skilling up on their own. As of late last year, we’ve seen a 142x increase in LinkedIn members adding AI skills like Copilot and ChatGPT to their profiles and a 160% increase in nontechnical professionals using LinkedIn Learning courses to build their AI aptitude. In a world where AI mentions in LinkedIn job posts drive a 17% bump in application growth, it’s a two-way street: Organizations that empower employees with AI tools and training will attract the best talent, and professionals who skill up will have the edge.

The rise of the AI power user — and what they reveal about the future: Four types of AI users emerged in the research — from skeptics who rarely use AI to power users who use it extensively. Compared to skeptics, AI power users have reoriented their workdays in fundamental ways, reimagining business processes and saving over 30 minutes per day. Over 90% of power users say AI makes their overwhelming workload more manageable and their work more enjoyable, but they aren’t doing it on their own. These users are 61% more likely to have heard from their CEO on the importance of using generative AI at work, 53% more likely to receive encouragement from leadership to consider how AI can transform their function, and 35% more likely to receive tailored AI training for their specific role or function.

“AI is redefining work, and it’s clear we need new playbooks,” said Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn. “It’s the leaders who build for agility instead of stability and invest in skill building internally that will give their organizations a competitive advantage and create more efficient, engaged and equitable teams.”

Microsoft is also announcing Copilot for Microsoft 365 innovations to help people get started with AI.

A new auto-complete feature is coming to the prompt box. Copilot will now help people who have the start of a prompt by offering to complete it, suggesting a more detailed prompt based on what is being typed, to deliver a stronger result. The company said, when people know what they want, but don’t have the right words, the new rewrite feature in Copilot will turn a basic prompt into a rich one with the click of a button.

Catch Up is a new chat interface that surfaces personal insights based on recent activity and provides responsive recommendations. For example, Copilot will flag an upcoming meeting and provide relevant information to help participants prepare. And new capabilities in Copilot Lab will enable people to create, publish and manage prompts tailored to them, and to their specific team, role and function.

These features will be available in the coming months. LinkedIn is also providing AI tools to enable users to stay ahead in their careers. These include upskilling courses, career advancement insights and AI-powered personalized takeaways in feeds and new AI-powered tools to make job searches easier and relevant.

First Published on May 14, 2024 9:08 AM

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