Australian leaders are more enthusiastic about AI than their global peers but they need to carefully navigate ongoing employee concerns, a new global study commissioned by Zoom Video Communications has found.  

The study, commissioned by Zoom and conducted by Morning Consult, revealed that the vast majority (93%) of Australian leaders surveyed were favourable towards AI adoption, compared to 88% of leaders worldwide. 

Australian leaders’ favourable attitudes to AI are underpinned by the results their teams are getting from AI. Among those whose Australian teams use AI at work, the majority of leaders agreed their teams completed tasks faster (88%), were more productive (84%), and delivered higher quality work (85%). Australian leaders also recognised a need to move quickly, with 76% of those surveyed agreeing that delaying AI introduction creates a risk of their business falling behind. 

Australian employees are more interested in using AI tools for efficiency and automation, while leaders here want to use them for assistance during and after their meetings.

Employees prefer to use AI to summarise meetings, chat messages, and notes (44%), automate repetitive tasks (43%) and to find and organise information (36%). Meanwhile, leaders prefer using AI to have better sound and video quality during meetings (38%), summarise meetings, chat messages, and notes (34%) and get real-time help during meetings (34%).

When asked about the potential negatives of AI, Australian employees focused on AI technology itself and the potentially negative effects it could have on their jobs, with 89% identifying job losses as a drawback of AI adoption. 

Many leaders recognise their concerns, with 71% noting that fear of job losses was a barrier to AI adoption. Leaders also see relevant training as a challenge, with 80% identifying it as the biggest roadblock to AI adoption. Some leaders also reported concerns about growing employee dependency on AI. 

Zoom head of Australia and New Zealand, Bede Hackney said, “Amid such concerns, leadership will be key to unlocking AI benefits, and in fostering adoption. Just as AI can help automate or assist with tasks to improve productivity, it can also help boost collaboration. Educating teams and providing resources are essential steps toward unlocking the full potential of AI in the workplace.”

Zoom head of Asia Pacific, Ricky Kapur noted the opportunity cost that AI avoiders may be imposing on their businesses. 

“Those who don’t use AI at work likely don’t recognise how much time they could potentially be saving. It’s clear that those who aren’t using it may be missing out on an opportunity to improve how they use their time by embracing these transformative technologies.”