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May 22, 2023

Australian Workers have Mixed Feelings about AI in the Workplace

RingCentral survey finds Australian workers positive about this year’s business outlook, and the impact of AI on the workforce; the jury is still out on the current quality of AI’s work, and its threat to jobs.

22 May 2023RingCentral, Inc. (NYSE: RNG), a leading provider of AI-powered global enterprise cloud communications, video meetings, collaboration, and contact centre solutions, today announced the findings of its recent worker survey, revealing positivity about overall business conditions and mixed feelings about the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. Younger Australian workers and decision makers see more promise in the future of AI. However, fears for their future jobs do exist.

Key highlights include:

  • Despite uncertain global economic conditions, workers have a favourable view of their company's outlook for 2023. Overall, 79% believe that their jobs are secure and 64% that their company’s financial performance will increase.

  • Two-in-five (41%) of workers believe AI advancements will positively impact the Australian workforce, which goes up to 49% among 21–34-year-olds but down to around a third among those over 45.

  • 43% of decision makers are most excited by the ability AI can have to free up their time. They cite virtual assistants, transcription, knowledge management, and meeting recaps the most valuable AI capabilities to them.

  • One third of all workers (34%) and nearly four-in-ten (39%) decision makers believe AI will replace many work roles within 20 years, while just 22% of decision makers are nervous AI may take their job. Overall, 19% of workers are nervous that AI will take their job, which climbs to 26% for younger workers (21–34-year-olds).

  • AI taking over our jobs is only the third highest prediction for how  technology will evolve over the next 20 years - the top was solar-powered everything (45%) and 3D print everything (34%).

  • For workers who already know of AI being used in their industry, 51% have mixed feelings about the quality of the work produced by AI, 36% felt good about it, and just 2% felt the quality was poor and not worth the level of oversights and edits needed.

  • Valuable capabilities of AI cited by workers include virtual assistance (27%), note-taking and transcription (26%) and knowledge management (24%)

“AI won’t necessarily be replacing human workers, but it will increasingly play a role in aspects of the work that many of us do today. With an estimate this month from Mandala Partners that 500,000 Australians are working in the top 10 occupations most exposed to generative AI technologies, the attitudes of these workers and others to the adoption of AI is absolutely critical. In our research, and in other research we have seen recently, we are still suffering from a skills shortage. Retaining and attracting staff continue to be the top challenges for most organisations. As we introduce greater levels of AI into the workplace, we need to be thinking about the impact it’s having on our teams, their morale and overall satisfaction," said Peter Hughes, Area Vice President, RingCentral.

Working arrangements
Workplace arrangements have stabilised, with most Australian full-time workers in an in-person work arrangement (68%) while one-quarter (27%) are hybrid and 5% full-time remote. Among the few who are fully remote, nearly two thirds have an in-person option but choose to stay remote. For information workers, 41% are in an in-person work arrangement, 48% are hybrid and 11% are full-time remote.

Preferences about hybrid working have remained steady from RingCentral’s earlier research. Australian workers are more likely to prefer a hybrid work arrangement (48%), which is nearly 3-in-5 among (59%) for information workers. Of those working full time in-person, 48% would prefer to be hybrid or fully remote, which climbs to 63% of information workers. Current hybrid workers are the happiest with their work arrangements, with just 5% preferring to work in-person (which drops to 2% for information workers).

RingCentral’s research found that the two biggest challenges companies will face this year are hiring good employees (48% of all respondents and 50% of decision makers) and retaining current workers  (44% of all respondents and 47% of decision makers). 

“It’s pretty clear from our research that to both retain and attract talent, you need to be offering your employees more options in how they work, especially your information workers. In this survey, we’ve seen a drop in people saying they have a good work/life balance and an increase in feelings of burnout, so we need to be careful not to tip the scales too far in changing our working arrangements,” said Hughes.

About RingCentral 

RingCentral is a leading global provider of cloud-based business communications and collaboration solutions that seamlessly combine phone, messaging, video meetings, and contact centre. RingCentral empowers customers with AI-powered conversation intelligence that unlocks insights from their interaction data to accelerate business outcomes. With decades of expertise in reliable and secure cloud communications, RingCentral has earned the trust of millions of customers and thousands of partners worldwide. Visit ringcentral.com to learn more.

© 2023 RingCentral, Inc. All rights reserved. RingCentral, RingCentral Contact Centre and the RingCentral logo are trademarks of RingCentral, Inc.

Research methodology

  • Ipsos surveyed 1,000 Australian residents aged 21-65.  

  • All respondents are currently full-time workers (defined as working full-time, having 2 part-time jobs, or being full-time self-employed). 

  • Surveys were conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany from 19/01/23 to 31/01/23. 

  • Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,002, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.3 percentage points).