• According to a KPMG LLP research of 1,035 American workers on the latest workplace trends, just 19% are concerned that generative AI would make their employment obsolete, even though 43% think it will.

Most white-collar professionals are not overly concerned about how the adoption of generative artificial intelligence would affect their ability to find employment in the near future.

One finding from a study conducted by KPMG LLP of 1,035 American employees on the most recent developments influencing the workforce is that only 19% are worried that generative AI will render their work redundant, despite 43% believing that it poses an imminent threat to their jobs. Concern over prospective employment losses has been a particular focus of generative AI, the technology powering OpenAI LP’s ChatGPT.

KPMG’s Vice Chair of Talent and Culture, Sandy Torchia, said, “It’s still too early for any of us to know about the full impact of AI on the workforce, but it’s possible that many of the respondents are hopeful about the potential for Gen AI to augment their work versus threaten their jobs.”

The research of KPMG surfaced over a week after several enterprise and AI leaders, including the Chief Executive of Anthropic, OpenAI, and Google LLC’s Deepmind, signed an open letter mentioning that “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

Generational categories and an appetence for enhancing AI

The research’s most intriguing finding is a slight generation gap in the degree of concern about the risk posed by generative AI.

For instance, compared to 39% of Generation X and 35% of boomers, 48% of Millennials and 44% of Generation Z respondents said they were extremely concerned about the role generative AI will play in their professions.

Younger generations, such as Millennials and Generation Z, will have to coexist with generative AI as it develops for decades to come, in contrast to boomer and Generation X respondents who are closer to retirement, which may explain the difference in concerns between these demographics.

Torchia is quick to emphasize that generative AI has the ability to complement rather than replace contemporary labor in any scenario.

“Generative AI is more uniquely suited for augmentation — primarily of knowledge workers — rather than automation. At KPMG, we know that to realize the augmentation benefits like increased productivity, people will need to swiftly adopt the technology and learn how to work with it effectively. It’s a mindset and skills shift,” she added.

Only 42% of employees say their employer performs a good job of upskilling for AI, suggesting that professionals are also aware of the need for a skills change.

Although it is unclear what adopting generative AI will mean for the global workforce in the long run, businesses that provide employees with training opportunities to show them how to use these disruptive technologies effectively will be crucial in relieving some concerns about job security.