HR News/North AmericaNews Ticker

Survey: Majority of U.S. Workers Are Already Using Generative AI Tools—but Company Policies Trail Behind

New York, September 13, 2023 — More than half of US employees are already using generative AI tools, at least occasionally, to accomplish work-related tasks. Yet some three-quarters of companies still lack an established, clearly communicated organizational AI policy.

The new survey from The Conference Board finds that 56% of workers are using generative AI on the job, with nearly one in 10 employing the technology on a daily basis. Yet just 26% of respondents say their organization has a policy related to the use of generative AI, with another 23% reporting such a policy is under development.

The urgency for establishing clear AI usage guidelines will only rise as the technology continues to accelerate in capability and scope: Already, 55% of respondents say that the current output of generative AI tools they’re using matches the quality of an experienced or expert human worker.

The latest workforce survey from The Conference Board was fielded from July 26 to August 13 and polled nearly 1100 U.S. employees—predominantly office workers. Respondents weighed in on how they’re using generative AI, the approach their managers and organizations are taking to the technology, the impact on productivity and job prospects, and more. Key findings include:

AI Adoption and Supervision

In all, 56% of respondents are using generative AI tools for work tasks. 

  • 31% report using generative AI on a frequent, regular basis—including daily (9%), weekly (17%), or monthly (5%).
  • 25% say they are using generative AI occasionally.
  • 44% have ne­ver used generative AI.  

Among workers who’ve adopted generative AI, a large majority—71%—say their managers or organizations are aware of their usage.

  • 46% say management is fully aware of their AI use.
  • 25% say management is partially aware.
  • Just 13% say their managers are not aware.

AI Use Cases and Work Quality

Workers are primarily using generative AI tools for basic, foundational tasks involving text.   

  • Drafting written content (68%), brainstorming ideas (60%), and conducting background research (50%) are the most common use cases.
  • Far fewer respondents are using generative AI for quantitative and technical tasks—such as analyzing data and making forecasts (19%), generating/checking computer code (11%), or image recognition and generation (7%).  

Most respondents believe the quality of AI output matches that of a seasoned human worker:

  • 45% say quality is equal to an experienced worker.
  • 31% say quality is equal to a novice worker.
  • 10% say quality is equal to an expert worker.

“Generative Al is already delivering work product that meets or exceeds the quality of employees with years of experience—at least on specific tasks,” said Diana Scott, Leader of The Conference Board Human Capital Center. “At the same time, few people we surveyed foresee AI technology as a threat to replace their jobs entirely. Rather, they appear to be embracing AI as a solution for repetitive or tedious parts of their work, freeing up bandwidth for more productive and valuable uses of their time.”

AI Productivity and Job Impact

Most respondents—63%—say generative AI tools have positively impacted their productivity.

  • 7% report a significant increase in productivity.
  • 56% report an increase.
  • 36% report no impact.

Many workers foresee generative AI replacing elements of their job functions—but overwhelmingly in a positive, rather than threatening, way.

  • 33% say AI will replace elements of their job in a positive way—e.g., by freeing up time for more valuable or creative tasks.
  • Just 4% foresee AI replacing parts of their work in a negative way—e.g., by threatening their job altogether.
  • 24% do not expect AI to replace any element of their job.

AI Organizational Policies

Most workers report that their organizations either don’t have a general policy related to the use of generative AI at work or are still developing one.

  • 34% say their organization does not have an AI policy.
  • 26% say their organization does have an AI policy.
  • 23% say a policy is under development.
  • 17% don’t know.

Adoption of AI is proceeding rapidly—and openly—even in the absence of final organization-wide policies.

  • Even among organizations that lack an AI policy, 40% of employees still report their managers are fully aware that they’re using AI tools at work.
  • In organizations with AI policies under development, 53% of workers say their managers are fully aware of their AI use—just a hair under the 56% in companies which have an established, finalized AI policy.

Recent Articles