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Microsoft and LinkedIn Unveil the State of AI at Work in Hong Kong

  • The data reveals Hong Kong employees are engaging with AI to enhance capabilities amid limited organizational support. Leaders must act to harness this trend for business impact.

  • Employees are keen users of AI: 88% of knowledge workers in Hong Kong use generative AI at work while 86% of AI users are bringing their own AI tools to work.

  • Hong Kong leaders think holistically prior to AI deployment: 23% of AI power users in Hong Kong are likely to have heard from their CEO on the importance of using generative AI at work.

  • There must be more focus on training with prompts and role-specific use cases: only 14% of AI power users in Hong Kong are likely to receive tailored AI training for their specific role or function.



Microsoft and LinkedIn recently released the 2024 Work Trend Index, a joint report on the state of AI – AI at work is here. Now comes the hard part. 2024 is the year of AI at work. There is a significant increase in professionals adding AI skills to their profiles, and most business leaders say they would not hire someone without AI skills. However, with many leaders in Hong Kong worried that their company lacks an AI vision and with employees bringing their own AI tools to work, leaders have reached the hard part of any tech disruption: moving from experimentation to tangible business impact.


“AI is a business imperative. With generative AI being used by 88% of knowledge workers at work, it is impressive to see employees in Hong Kong are much more willing to empower themselves to adopt innovations than most other regions. However, AI transformation is not a one-time event – it’s an ongoing journey that requires leaders’ commitment, adaptability, and strategic leadership. To sharpen their competitive edge in the market, business leaders should expedite their AI journey now, learn and adapt at every turn as they progress towards their envisioned interim milestones that pave the way to meaningful change and enduring success,” said Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau.


The report highlights three insights every leader and professional needs to know about AI’s impact on work and the labor market in the year ahead:


  1. Employees want AI at work and will not wait for companies to catch up:


In terms of AI adoption, Hong Kong outperforms most other markets, with 88% of knowledge workers using generative AI at work, higher than the global (75%) and APAC averages (83%). This reflects Hong Kong employees’ enthusiasm for and frenetic pace of AI at work.


While 85% of leaders in Hong Kong believe their company needs to adopt AI to stay competitive, 66% of leaders in Hong Kong worry their organization’s leadership lacks a plan and vision to implement it. So, employees are taking things into their own hands. 86% of AI users in Hong Kong are bringing their own tool to work – Bring Your Own AI (BYOAI) — missing out on the benefits that come from strategic AI use at scale and putting company data at risk. This highlights a huge gap between businesses’ AI vision and deployment. The opportunity for every leader is to channel this momentum into ROI.


2. The rise of the AI power users and what they reveal about the future:


In the research, four types of AI users emerged on a spectrum — from skeptics who rarely use AI to power users who use it extensively. Compared to skeptics, AI power users have reoriented their workdays in fundamental ways, reimagining business processes and saving over 30 minutes per day. They bookend their day with AI. 85% of AI power users in Hong Kong use it to get started in the morning and 83% use it to get ready for the following day. According to another Microsoft Hong Kong’s customer survey, it shows 81% of Copilot for Microsoft 365 users are more likely to stay in a company with Microsoft Copilot tools.


However, only 23% of AI power users in Hong Kong are likely to have heard from their CEO on the importance of using generative AI at work, and 14% are likely to receive tailored AI training for their specific role or function.


3. For employees, AI raises the bar and breaks the career ceiling:


In Hong Kong, 77% of leaders prefer a less experienced candidate with AI skills than a more experienced candidate without them, slightly higher than the global level (71%). On a global scale, as of late last year, there was a 142x increase in members globally adding AI skills like ChatGPT and Copilot to their LinkedIn profiles. Additionally, AI mentions in LinkedIn job posts have driven a 17% bump in application growth.


The emergence of readily generative AI has changed workplace development and demand for talent. This puts pressure on employees to focus on advancing their AI aptitude through upskilling.


The world is witnessing a transformative shift in the workplace due to AI, prompting the need for renewed talent strategies that place learning and continuous development at the center” said Mei Mei Ng, General Manager and Head of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn Hong Kong and Taiwan. “Given how rapidly our ecosystem is evolving, leaders who prioritize agility and invest in skills development gain a competitive edge by fostering a workforce that is ready for AI. 77% of Hong Kong leaders would hire someone who is less experienced yet with AI skills, which emphasizes the urgency and importance for professionals to build their AI capabilities.”


To harness the full potential of AI, business leaders can take specific steps:


  • Channel employees’ enthusiasm from AI experimentation into AI transformation: AI transformation needs an all-round cultural change. Business leaders should leverage their interest and select a group of AI active users as project champion or critical mass to spread the influence for this adaptive change and motivate the use of AI across the organizations to improve overall business operational effectiveness.

  • Start company-wide trainings as an ongoing process to influence changes: Cultural change is an ongoing process. Business leaders should also create company-wide trainings such as role-based AI training, prompt trainings to upskill their employees to stay competitive for their career growth and can strengthen the company’s talent retention and attract the best talent.

  • Adopt enterprise-grade AI solutions to mitigate risks from BYOAI and deploy AI securely: AI transformation is also security transformation. Due to the high percentage of BYOAI from users in Hong Kong, they are bringing potential security risks to the company. Thus, providing a secure and trusted AI infrastructure for employees has become more important than ever before, such as Copilot for Microsoft 365, to safeguard security and data privacy. Microsoft also establishes Responsible AI principles to help partners cultivate a healthy AI culture within their organizations.


 

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