Hundreds of top executives in the UK harbour deep-seated fears that their jobs could be usurped by artificial intelligence (AI).

The findings, unveiled in a groundbreaking study conducted by AND Digital, shed light on the pervasive apprehensions surrounding AI’s disruptive potential within traditional corporate hierarchies.

According to the comprehensive survey, a staggering 43 percent of CEOs in the UK expressed genuine concerns about AI posing a significant threat to their job security.

This apprehension underscores a broader sentiment of unease gripping executive suites as AI continues to reshape the contours of the global workforce.

Also, a remarkable 76 percent of CEOs have embarked on AI training initiatives within their organisations, seeking to fortify their own skills and those of their employees against the relentless march of technological progress.

Doubts over readiness to navigate AI integration

The revelations, unveiled in “The CEO Digital Divide: Are You Accelerating Enterprise Value or Slowing It Down?” report, offer a sobering glimpse into the intricate dynamics between human capital and AI-driven automation. Alarmingly, 44 percent of surveyed CEOs expressed doubts about their workforce’s readiness to navigate the complexities of AI integration, reflecting a pervasive sense of trepidation amidst rapid technological advancements.

In a paradoxical twist, while a third of CEOs (34 percent) have chosen to outright ban AI tools within their companies, a substantial 45 percent confessed to surreptitiously leveraging AI technologies, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, to discharge their professional obligations covertly, often masquerading the AI-generated output as their own.

Amidst this clandestine adoption of AI tools, ethical considerations loom large on the corporate horizon, with 68 percent of CEOs citing ethical concerns as a paramount issue in AI adoption.

‘Proactive measures’ are needed

Stephen Paterson, Chief for Technology and People at AND Digital, issued a clarion call for proactive measures to confront the burgeoning AI dilemma head-on. He stressed the imperative for CEOs to prioritise comprehensive reskilling initiatives aimed at equipping their workforce with the requisite AI competencies to thrive in an increasingly digitised ecosystem.

Against the backdrop of these revelations, the announcement of a new UK-US partnership aimed at safeguarding the ethical deployment of AI assumes heightened significance. This collaborative endeavour seeks to forge advanced testing protocols for AI models while fostering information-sharing to mitigate the risks associated with AI proliferation.

As the spectre of AI disruption looms large, the imperative for business leaders to embrace an inclusive ‘AND’ mindset—eschewing binary choices in favour of nuanced integration—has never been more pressing. Failure to do so, warns Paterson, risks consigning organisations to obsolescence in an era defined by technological upheaval.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.