Many workers using generative AI without employer approval

'With clear guidelines, employees will be able to understand and address AI’s risks while also harnessing its innovations'

Many workers using generative AI without employer approval

More than half of workers using generative AI in the workplace are doing so without the formal approval of their employers.

That’s according to a global study by Salesforce involving over 14,000 global workers across 14 countries, shedding light on the challenges and risks associated with the unregulated use of this transformative technology.

Despite coordinated efforts by governments worldwide, including the U.S. and the EU, to establish guidelines for responsible AI use, the research suggests that businesses are lagging behind in implementing clear policies. This lack of defined policies poses potential risks to businesses, as employees are leveraging generative AI without proper training, guidance, or approval.

Surprisingly, almost 4 in 10 (39%) global workers state that their employers do not hold a strong opinion about generative AI use in the workplace.

Growing use of generative AI

A striking 28% of workers currently use generative AI at work, with over half doing so without formal approval. An additional 32% expect to incorporate generative AI into their workflow soon, indicating a trend that will persist with or without oversight, found Salesforce.

Even as workers engage in the use of unapproved generative AI tools, they acknowledge the importance of ethical and safe use by adopting company-approved programs. However, alarming trends emerge as 64% of users admit to passing off generative AI work as their own, and 41% would consider overstating their skills to secure job opportunities.

The responsibility does not solely lie with the workers; the survey reveals that nearly 7 in 10 global workers have never received training on the safe and ethical use of generative AI at work. Furthermore, workers express dissatisfaction with their employers' lack of clearly defined or non-existent generative AI policies.

Certain industries, such as healthcare, are identified as laggards in implementing policies, with 87% of workers claiming their companies lack clear guidelines. This raises urgent concerns, especially considering the confidential data involved in such industries, highlighting the need to skill up workers on responsible use.

Clear guidelines needed for AI

Workers, cognizant of the impact of generative AI on their careers, express the belief that mastering the technology would make them more sought after (47%), result in increased job satisfaction (51%), and potentially lead to higher pay (44%).

“To realize AI’s full potential, it’s critical that we invest in the employees using the technology as much as the technology itself,” emphasized Paula Goldman, Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer at Salesforce. "With clear guidelines, employees will be able to understand and address AI’s risks while also harnessing its innovations to supercharge their careers."

The study, conducted in partnership with YouGov from October 18 to 31, 2023, surveyed over 14,000 full-time employees across various sectors in 14 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, the Nordics, India, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates.

Recent articles & video

Employers told to strengthen support for LGBTQ+ business travellers

Gen X employees want employers' help with retirement security: survey

What are the costliest cities for international workers?

Working 3 days at home reduces quit rates: Stanford report

Most Read Articles

Wells Fargo employees fired for 'simulation of keyboard activity'

More than half of employers globally plan to increase headcount due to AI

AI and HR: High optimism, low adoption reported among decision makers