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Microsoft and LinkedIn Release 2024 Work Trends Index

Microsoft and LinkedIn Release 2024 Work Trends Index

The News: Microsoft and LinkedIn announced the 2024 Work Trends Index, a report focused on the state of AI at work titled “AI at work is here. Now comes the part.” The report, which is based on a survey of 31,000 people located across 31 countries, labor and hiring trends on LinkedIn, trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, and research with Fortune 500 customers, illustrates the massive impact AI is having on the way people work, how they lead organizations, and how they are hiring talent.

You can read the blog post announcing the news on the Microsoft website.

Microsoft and LinkedIn Release 2024 Work Trends Index

Analyst Take: Microsoft and LinkedIn announced the release of the 2024 Work Trend Index on the state of AI at work, which focused on how AI is impacting the way people work, lead their organizations, and hire new talent. The full report is available on the Microsoft website, but several of the key findings are worth investigating, as they are likely to impact the demand for AI tools, software, and training in the years to come.

The use of generative AI at work has nearly doubled in the past 6 months. According to the Work Trends Index, three out of four people are now using AI at work, and 46% of them began using it less than six months ago.

These statistics portend a profound impact on the way in which organizations will need to evaluate software and tools. Workers are increasingly using AI in their personal lives, and most are now using it at work, either through sanctioned tools (such as AI functions embedded within software), or via unsanctioned or unmonitored methods, such as using consumer-focused tools like chatgpt.com, bard.com or others.

Certainly, some of the use of AI at work is the result of the technology being embedded within software as a service (SaaS) platforms. According to research from Futurum Intelligence, spending on SaaS applications that embed AI is projected to reach $48.8 billion by 2029, up from just $17.4 billion in 2022, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.5%.

However, the Work Trends Index also found that 78% of workers are bringing their own AI tools to work, and it’s not just digital natives like Gen Z or Millennial workers; 76% of Gen X workers and 73% of Boomers are also engaging in this risky practice. Not surprisingly, cybersecurity and data privacy are the top concerns among organizational leaders, given that the use of these unsanctioned or unmonitored tools can result in IP and data leakage, the creation of data security issues, and a lack of visibility and traceability around AI usage by workers.

The use of unauthorized AI tools can be mitigated, often by using specific digital adoption platforms, such as those from WalkMe and Portal26 which are designed to stop users from accessing public generative AI tools and redirect and educate them to only use generative AI tools and applications that have been vetted and authorized by the company.

AI Skills Development Is in High Gear

As AI becomes more commonplace in the workplace, skills such as prompt engineering, as well as more technical ones such as model development, are likely going to increase in importance. Even for productivity or service workers that merely interact with AI-enabled systems will require training to understand how to use these tools efficiently, as well as understand how to assess their output for quality and suitability, based on their role or scenario.

A separate LinkedIn study found that while 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. As a result, professionals are upskilling on their own, with LinkedIn reporting 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.

As such, organizations need to implement education and training programs to help workers develop relevant skills, as well as highlight the risks of using so-called “bring your own” AI tools. However, according to unpublished data contained within LinkedIn’s 2024 Workplace Learning Report, just 25% of companies are planning to offer training on generative AI this year.

AI Usage Is Rising, But with Myriad User Types

According to the Work Trends Index, four types of AI users emerged in the research, ranging from skeptics who rarely use AI, to power users who use it extensively. The research found that AI power users use it to reimagine business processes and save more than 30 minutes per day.

Meanwhile Explorers are only somewhat familiar with AI (if at all) and use it a few times a month or once a week, saving them between 5 and 30 minutes per day. Novices are only somewhat familiar with AI (if at all) and use it only a few times a month (if ever), and say AI saves them 30 minutes or less per day.

Skeptics are at least familiar with AI, but they only use it a few times a month (if ever), and say AI saves them 10 minutes or less per day.

However, what was not asked in this survey is what is influencing the decision of explorers, novices, or skeptics to not use AI or investigate its capabilities in the same way as power users. It is possible there are concerns about accuracy, repeatability, data leakage, or originality, particularly when generative AI is used to generate text. There may be an unconscious bias against AI, because it is relatively easy to create a large volume of content far more quickly than ever before, which may feel like “cheating” to some workers.

On a call with analysts, the lead Microsoft researcher indicated that there may be other adjacent research that is released in the future that addresses these issues. In the meantime, organizations would be well served to query their employees on their usage of generative AI, the factors that cause them to use or not use it, and the tools and applications they use, in order to get more clarity around this technology that will only increase in utilization in the workplace.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Microsoft Q3 FY 2024 Earnings: Revenue Up 15% Year over Year

Microsoft Announces New Pricing for Dynamics 365 Customers

Microsoft Elevates Hybrid Work with Latest Teams Enhancements

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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