According to new research from Microsoft Corp. and LinkedIn, the use of generative AI at work has nearly doubled in the past six months but employees aren’t waiting for their employers to catch up to AI trends.

In early May, the two companies released their joint research on the state of AI at work titled, AI at work is here. Now comes the hard part.” The research is based on a survey of 31,000 people across 31 countries, labor and hiring trends on LinkedIn, trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, and research with Fortune 500 customers.

According to a summary of the findings, the researchers found that 75 percent of knowledge workers now use AI at work. These employees say that AI saves time, boosts creativity, and allows them to focus on their most important work as they struggle to keep up with the pace and volume of work.

At the same time, while 79 percent of leaders agree that AI adoption is critical to remain competitive, 60 percent say their company lacks a vision and plan to implement it.

As a result, the employees are taking things into their own hands. Some 78 percent of AI users are bringing their own tools to work—Bring Your Own AI (BYOAI).

But not without some worry and guilt. Just over half—52 percent of people who use AI at work— are reluctant to admit to using it for their most important tasks. In addition, 53 percent of people who use AI at work worry that using it on important work tasks makes them look replaceable.

Microsoft and LinkedIn stressed that by using BYOAI tools, employees are “missing out on the benefits that come from strategic AI use at scale and putting company data at risk.”

“The opportunity for every leader is to channel this momentum into business impact at scale,” the researchers said in a media statement.

Other findings:

  • Forty-six percent of professionals around the globe are considering quitting in 2024.
  • Two-thirds of leaders—66 percent—say they would not hire someone without AI skills.
  • Only 30 percent of AI users received AI training at their companies.
  • Only 25 percent of companies expect to offer AI training in 2024

The report groups AI users into four categories based on their familiarity with AI and how frequently they use it—skeptics, novices, explorers and power users, who are the most familiar with AI and use AI multiple times in a week to save themselves more than 30 minutes per day

Over 90 percent of power users say AI boosts their creativity and helps them focus on more important work, and that AI makes them feel more motivated. Unlike other categories of AI users, these power users are 61 percent more likely to have heard their company’s CEO talk about the importance of using generative AI at work. They are also 53 percent more likely to receive encouragement from leadership to consider how AI can transform their function, and 35 percent more likely to receive tailored AI training for their specific role or function.

Source: LinkedIn, Microsoft