Worker sitting at his desk with his hand over his face feeling tired and surrounded by lots of paper documents and a computer.
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Stressed Irish workers could be underestimating AI, says PwC poll

5 Sep 2023

Almost one-third (29pc) of workers do not think AI will impact their jobs over the next five years, while many are feeling underpaid and undervalued.

Irish workers are stressed, unhappy and not at all confident in their employer’s ability to keep companies afloat, a survey by PwC has found. They are also ambivalent about skills and the impact of AI on their careers.

The professional services firm polled 1,000 Irish workers as part of its 2023 Hopes and Fears Workforce Survey. The Irish survey was part of a much larger global survey of almost 54,000 workers in 46 countries. One-fifth of Irish workers surveyed said they were looking for a new job and the same percentage said that if their current employer continued running their operations as they are now they would be out of business within the next decade.

Nearly a quarter (23pc) of Irish respondents said that they are struggling to pay or cannot pay the bills – this figure is up from 11pc last year. The same percentage said they are overworked. Only 36pc feel that they are fairly rewarded financially for the work they do in comparison to 42pc globally.

Laoise Mullane, director, PwC Ireland workforce, warned that “burnout should be a concern for organisations and efforts should be made to support employees in taking proactive steps to address this”.

“There is an opportunity for organisations to transform their total reward offerings, with the aim of enhancing total wellness.” Mullane’s comments on burnout are also important in the context of learning and development. If employees are stressed and underpaid and overworked they will not be likely to have capacity to learn new skills to prepare for the future.

PwC’s survey found that many workers aren’t confident about the future, with only 53pc of Irish workers saying they are confident that their employer will provide them with the required tools, resources and opportunities to build the skills they need. Just 26pc agreed that the skills needed to succeed in their job will significantly change over the next five years, which means workers are underestimating the effect of tech on their jobs. A Government report from last year said that all Irish workers will need some level of understanding of AI to do their jobs.

Almost one-third (29pc) of workers do not think AI will impact their jobs over the next five years. However, a small percentage (22pc) said they appreciate that AI will help them be more productive. But there was scepticism and negativity about tech, too. One in 10 Irish workers said that AI will replace their role altogether in the next 5 years. Just 16pc said that AI will create new job opportunities for them.

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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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