AI unlocks workplace productivity and creativity

Photo by cottonbro

Microsoft’s third annual Work Trend Index report, “Will AI Fix Work?” outlines three locally relevant trends from an external study of 31,000 people in 31 countries, including Singapore, as well as trillions of signals in Microsoft 365 and labour trends on LinkedIn.

The advent of AI has unlocked new growth opportunities and transformed the way we work as companies see value in adopting the technology to drive better business outcomes.

According to the study, data reveals that people report inefficient meetings as their number one productivity disruptor, among other challenges.

Shyamol Bansal, Business Lead for Modern Work at Microsoft Singapore shared, “Technology has become integral to how we work and collaborate. As AI reshapes work, embracing the technology as our co-pilot is vital to building a resilient, digitally inclusive Singapore. Having AI as your co-pilot will be inherent to how we work – we need to ensure employees have the tools and skills to gain new core competencies and to do more with less.”

The report shares three key insights for business leaders as they look to understand and responsibly adopt AI at scale for their organizations:

1.  Digital debt is costing us innovation: We are all carrying digital debt. The volume of data, emails, and chats has outpaced our ability to process everything. 69% of employees in Singapore (APAC is 72%) say they do not have enough time and energy to get work done, while 82% (APAC is 74%) agree they do not have sufficient uninterrupted focus during their workday. The lack of productivity can hamper innovation as every minute spent managing this digital debt is a minute not spent on creative work and strategic priorities. 70% of leaders in Singapore (APAC is 65%) say they are concerned about the lack of innovation.

2.  There’s a new AI-employee alliance: Despite job loss fears driven by an uptick in AI adoption across various sectors, leaders are keen to empower employees with AI rather than replace them. While more than half (67%) of employees in Singapore are worried AI will replace their jobs, even more (81%) would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workload (APAC is 58% and 78% respectively). In Singapore, 3 in 4 people would be comfortable using AI not just for administrative tasks (85%) but also for analytical work (87%), and even creative aspects of their role (81%) (APAC is 83%,85% and 81%). Meanwhile, business leaders in Singapore are 1.5x more likely to say that AI would provide value in the workplace by boosting productivity rather than cutting headcount. This is lower than the global (2x) and regional (1.8x) average.

3.  Every employee needs AI aptitude: Every employee, not just AI experts, will need new core competencies in AI to thrive in a new dimension of work. 88% of leaders in Singapore (APAC is 85%) anticipate employees will need new skills in the AI era. While the technology continues to evolve, 76% of employees in Singapore (APAC is 71%) say they currently don’t have the right capabilities to get their work done. As the paradigm shifts to integrate AI as a co-pilot in the workplace, we will see ripple effects across the labor market through expanding opportunities and augmented productivity.

Singapore – fastest-growing market for AI talent in Asia Pacific markets studied

Amid the constantly changing world of work, some of the most significant changes and opportunities today are being driven by AI. According to data by LinkedIn, which has over 930 million members globally, including more than 3 million in Singapore, AI has seen rapid growth in the labour markets in recent years. 

In Singapore, LinkedIn data shows that the share of AI talent between 2016 and 2022 grew by a staggering 565%, outpacing countries like Australia (527%), India (487%) and Japan (334%). The growth in AI talent hiring in Singapore also outpaced the growth in overall hiring by 14% in 2022. The data points towards Singapore as a leading hub for AI talent and innovation in the Asia Pacific region.

The fastest-growing AI job roles in Singapore are Algorithm Engineer, Data Analyst, Data Science Specialist and Machine Learning Engineer. More professionals in Singapore are also equipping themselves with AI skills to keep up with the pace of change in the jobs and skills landscape. The 5 fastest growing AI skills in Singapore in 2022 (based on year-on-year growth in skills added to member profiles) are all skills hinting at the emergence of generative AI, such as Natural Language Processing (+52% YoY) and Computer Vision (+47% YoY).

“AI has ushered in a new era in the world of work, and in Singapore, we are excited of its possibilities with AI talent and hiring fast-rising. As AI continues to evolve and grow in importance, it is imperative that professionals build up their AI skills wallet to boost work productivity and creativity, and that businesses adopt AI capabilities to achieve better business outcomes. By taking a skills-first approach, we have an opportunity to enable and empower a paradigm shift to AI as the co-pilot in the new way of work. We will continue to put generative AI into the hands of our members and business partners to help everyone more easily connect to economic opportunity,” said Frank Koo, Head of Asia, Talent and Learning Solutions, LinkedIn.