3 in 4 APAC knowledge workers use and reap benefits from AI

Artificial intelligence has become a tool commonly used among knowledge workers that more than half (55%) of them are currently using software applications enhanced with AI at work.

A new report from Freshworks shows that employees across the Asia-Pacific region are learning how to use AI at an “incredible rate,” with 70% of them using AI at least once a week, and 59% claiming that they’re saving at least three hours a week thanks to the technology.

These are based on an online survey prepared by Method Research and distributed by PureSpectrum among 7,000 adults, including 500 from Singapore. Data was collected from March 9 to April 4, 2024.  

Other respondents are based in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Australia/New Zealand, India, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil.  

Results show that 73% workers say that using software applications enhanced with AI at work allows them to get more work done, improve the quality of their work, or that their work is easier to complete.

Also, Freshworks’ ROI of AI study surveyed 1,000 office workers professionals, working in HR, IT, customer services and support, finance and accounting, sales, marketing, and legal in the APAC region.

According to the report, workers in the APAC region predominantly use AI for tasks such as writing or creating content (48%), researching and brainstorming (47%), and data analysis (45%). They are particularly satisfied, with 71% expressing comfort in using AI and an equal percentage trusting its output.

However, privacy remains a big concern for organisations that have a duty of care to make sure their sensitive data remains safe. Over half (51%) of APAC workers admit to using free versions of online AI tools like ChatGPT and only one in three (33%) employees say they’re concerned about where AI is pulling its information from. 

A significant amount of potentially sensitive company information is likely being leaked and used to train future versions of other companies’ AI models.

“We witness the remarkable growth of a technology that holds immense potential for delivering business value,” said Sandie Overtveld, Freshworks SVP in Asia-Pacific and Japan and Middle East and Africa.

“However, as AI becomes increasingly prevalent, we emphasised the need for companies to provide adequate training and onboarding for employees, so they can immerse themselves in the software and harness the full benefits of AI safely and effectively,” said Overtveld. “Providing access to user-friendly business software is the key to satisfying both customers and employees of the future.”

The need for training is clear, not least because of the privacy concerns of using free online AI tools. APAC workers are untrusting of AI due to its security risks (53%) and its unpredictability (43%). 

More than one in three (37%) employees also admit that AI can be confusing to understand, while 73% believe that training and onboarding are necessary for employees to have meaningful benefits from using AI.

However, the research also uncovers that negative perceptions around AI replacing jobs are easing in APAC, as 76% of workers agree that AI will never be able to completely replace human workers — especially young raw talent.

Many employees would also likely advocate for stronger company policies around AI, with more than two-thirds (69%) of workers saying they would trust workplace AI software more if human review of its outputs was mandatory.