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Irish survey suggests urban-rural divide among workers regarding AI

26 Jun 2023

Dubliners are less worried about AI than their Monaghan counterparts, but many Irish workers continue to be affected by the cost of living and housing.

According to a survey by Irish company FRS Recruitment, workers in this country are concerned about AI and the cost of living. They surveyed 4,347 people in April to find out Irish people’s attitudes to working life.

Regarding AI, one quarter of workers said they believe the tech will impact or replace their job in the future. There seemed to be less of a concern about AI in urban centres compared to rural counties. Monaghan and Leitrim workers had the highest levels of AI anxiety (43pc), while Sligo’s was 37pc.

By contrast, only 19pc believe AI will affect them in Dublin. Galway (23pc), Cork (27pc) and Limerick (22pc) had higher levels of worry.

Four in 10 employers indicated that they worry their positions will be impacted or replaced by AI.

“There has been a lot of talk this year around the progression of artificial intelligence and the implications of its use. This has led to growing levels of awareness around AI and its potential, which is now causing concern in the Irish employment market,” said Lynne McCormack, general manager at FRS Recruitment. “This is clearly an area that a significant portion of the workforce are mindful of and will be watching how it evolves in the coming months and years.”

Not all workers and employers are pessimistic about AI, as recent data from Indeed showed that jobs postings for generative AI in the US shot up by about 20pc last month. A spokesperson for Indeed attributed this to the craze around ChatGPT.

FRS Recruitment’s survey also highlighted that high numbers of the workforce continue to struggle with finding accommodation and the cost of living in Ireland.

More than half (56pc) of employees said they would be more likely to seek new employment due to rising costs, while 29pc said they are trying to spend more time in the office to reduce their home heating and electricity costs. A further 27pc are trying to work at home more to keep their travel costs down. A huge 90pc of employees said they are more productive or just as productive when working from home.

The lack of accommodation available to workers is impacting the employment market as 38pc of those polled said the housing shortage makes them more likely to look for other work. The majority of workers (75pc) said they expected a salary increase and many (40pc) are not satisfied with their current salaries.

This discontent is impacting recruiters and employers, with 64pc of that group indicating that inflation has affected their outlook on hiring. Employers are also noticing higher rates of attrition and 42pc believe salary is the main factor.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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