Cartoon showing a trust gap concept with a woman standing on a cliff edge looking across a gap at another cliff. A giant pencil is drawing a connecting line between the two cliffs.
Image: © Vadym/

The widening AI ‘trust gap’ between employers and employees

11 Jan 2024

A global Workday survey found that 23pc of workers are not confident their organisation puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI.

Trust – or lack thereof – is a major sticking point when it comes to the deployment of AI in workplaces. New research by enterprise cloud software maker Workday found that leaders and their teams are at odds over AI.

This scenario is global, according to Workday, which surveyed 1,375 business leaders and 4,000 employees in 15 countries across North America, EMEA and the Asia-Pacific regions. The survey was carried out in November and December 2023.

Just under one quarter (23pc) of workers said they are not confident their organisation puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI. When they were asked the same question about employee interests, 21pc of leaders responded that they are not confident their organisations will put employee interests first either.

Three in four employees reported that their company is not collaborating on AI regulation, while four in five said that their company has not yet shared guidelines on responsible AI use.

As well as the lack of trust between employees and their employers, there are concerns over how competent leaders are when deploying AI. Many workers (42pc) believe their company does not have a clear understanding of which systems should be fully automated and which require human intervention.

Leaders themselves share their staff members’ concerns about how well equipped they are to implement AI systems. While 55pc of employees believe their companies have the ability to deploy AI in a trustworthy and responsible way, the figure is not much higher for their bosses (62pc). These stats suggest that employers might be just as doubtful of their abilities as their employees clearly are. Is it possible that this lack of trust at a senior level permeates down through the ranks to affect workers? Or are leaders not being transparent when making AI strategies? Both outcomes may be correct.

According to Workday’s findings, 70pc of employers agree that AI should be developed and implemented in a way that allows for human oversight. As part of’s recent tech trends coverage for 2024, there was a lot of talk from industry leaders about trust being key to bringing employees on board with AI.

Commenting on his organisation’s findings on the subject of AI and trust, Workday’s CTO Jim Stratton said, “Organisations must adopt a comprehensive approach to AI responsibility and governance, with a lens on policy advocacy to help strike the right balance between innovation and trust.”

“There’s no denying that AI holds immense opportunities for business transformation,” he added. “However, our research shows that leaders and employees lack confidence in, and understanding of, their organisations’ intentions around AI deployment within the workplace.”

Looking ahead to how they would like their industry to adopt AI, 42pc of leaders and 36pc of the employees that Workday surveyed cited organisational frameworks and regulation as most important for building trustworthy AI.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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