Irish employers concerned about the security of AI

Peninsula Team

August 31 2023

As we move into an age where AI may become a larger player within Irish businesses, a survey was conducted to gauge the current state of affairs.

The survey – carried out by Peninsula Group, a global employment law, HR, Health & Safety advisory, and consultancy firm, will provide employers in Ireland with more insight into how companies find AI, and whether they should consider implementation.

Below is a summary of the survey, with an in-depth look at each question and how Irish employers see the future of their company with AI possibly at the forefront.

What are the main concerns Irish employers have about AI?

The results from the survey show that the main concern Irish employers have about AI is security concerns, with 37% stating this as the reason. This may be down to a fear of the unknown, or be the start of a future debate.

15% of companies said their main concern behind the use of AI was the potential for an increased margin of error. Again, this could be down to fear of the unknown or the feeling that their current employees are more responsible for the company’s output.

These results make clear that many employers in Ireland don’t yet trust AI, with further discussions required.

How many Irish companies are currently using AI?

A critical question that made up the survey was the percentage of businesses that currently use AI in their company. A stand out from this question was that only 10% of the companies use AI in their business.

Over 60% of the companies asked aren’t currently using AI (63%), with just over a quarter (27%) stating they use it on a sporadic basis.

It may be a while until AI becomes commonplace for businesses in Ireland, but this is understandable with it still being in its infancy. However, there’s clearly a concern among Irish businesses regarding the use of AI.

What functions are Irish companies using AI for?

One of the debates surrounding the use of AI is what companies may use it for daily, so this makes it an important question.

Out of all the businesses, exactly half stated that AI is being used for administrative tasks (50%), just over a third of companies said it’s being used for customer services (33%), and 21% answered that it’s used for creative writing tasks.

With Irish businesses providing a wide range of answers to this question, it’s clear that AI can be used for a range of different tasks in a company setting.

Do Irish companies feel like AI will reduce the number of employees?

The impact AI will have on employees is one of the main discussions surrounding its implementation. So, this is a vitally important question as part of the survey carried out. The answers given to this question were both surprising and interesting.

35% of businesses were unsure if AI will reduce the number of people employed, with only 29% of companies feeling people are irreplaceable, and over a quarter (27%) feeling that AI will reduce the number of people employed at some point.

These answers may be concerning to many, as much debate has been had over the impact that AI will have on current employees. With many feeling they’ll eventually be replaced by an automated system. 

What has the impact of AI been for Irish companies that are currently using it?

One of the main discussions surrounding the use of AI in the workplace is the impact it will have on companies once it’s used. The answers given to this question showed a great insight into the thoughts of Irish companies.

58% of businesses using AI are unsure of the impact it’ll end up having, with 23% stating it’s too early to tell. This confirms there are still many companies unsure and will be tentative before using it in their company.

What statement best describes the views of companies in Ireland on the role AI will play in their workforce?

The use of AI sparks a lot of discussion, whether this be the impact it can have on employees, or the overall effectiveness of bringing it into a company.

So as part of the survey, we asked Irish businesses to choose which statement best describes their views on the role AI will play in their workforce. The answers given to this question were a mixed bag.

Over a third of companies (35%) feel that it has the power to positively transform many workplaces, just under a third (29%) think it will have negative elements but aren’t sure of its impact, with just under a fifth (17%) of companies think it can be useful but won’t overtake the traditional ways of working.

What does the survey say about the state of play for AI in Irish businesses?

The survey has shown it’s still very early doors for AI to become commonplace in the workplace. And it mirrors the mixed global feelings surrounding the use of AI at work and in daily life.

The main reason for Irish companies not using AI yet is due to security concerns, however many feel it can have a positive impact and may actually reduce the number of employees they have working for them.

The next few years will be crucial, but the survey made clear that many more employers are open to using the function than maybe first expected.


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