Employees are more fearful and distrustful of artificial intelligence in the workplace than their employers – as businesses see cost savings as the main benefit of the technology.

A UK-wide survey of attitudes and preparedness for AI, by recruitment giant Hays, found close to a third of employees say they don’t have the right skills to make best use of the technology – but firms have already begun adopting it.

Some 56% of employers think AI should be embraced in the workplace, while just 8% said it should be feared.

Read more: AI to hit workplace ‘like a freight train’

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AI to hit like a ‘freight train’

But among employees, just 49% believe artificial intelligence should be adopted – with 13% concerned about its impact.

Currently, 21% of organisations say they are already using AI tools like ChatGPT – and 27% are investing in training for staff to upskill in AI tools and technologies.

The main benefits of AI – identified by employers – were cost savings, process efficiencies and improved productivity.

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At the same time, 55% of workers say their employer isn’t helping them prepare for the use of AI at work.

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The survey indicates that more companies will adopt AI – and just 18% say they intend to ban it, with 3% already prohibiting its use.

The majority – 66% – say they will allow the technology in their workplace but will monitor how it is used.

The greatest take up of AI, according to the survey, was in marketing.

Over a third (37%) of marketing professionals say they have used an AI tool in their current role. They were followed by 30% of professionals working in tech, 23% of professionals working in architecture and 17% of those working in sales.

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For businesses not using AI, the top reason listed was a lack of awareness or understanding of the benefits.

The survey results follow the announcement by BT that 55,000 jobs are to be cut before 2030 with AI replacing 10,000 roles.

BT has revealed plans to significantly reduce the number of people working for the telecoms group as part of efforts to cut costs and bolster profitability, with AI due to replace thousands of roles. The company said it hoped the roles would be lost through natural attrition rather than redundancy.

The telecoms company added it would use AI to deliver better customer service and capture other business opportunities.

Unions have also expressed concern for workers’ rights with the expansion of AI into the workplace and have called for tighter regulation.