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HK knowledge workers tied for tops in GenAI use
Half using tech with business automation see greater productivity, reduced burnout
The Asset 21 Jun 2024

Hong Kong knowledge workers lead the world in generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) use, alongside those in Singapore, according to a recent survey, with 60% of respondents in both locations saying they are using the technology at work, the highest usage rate globally, followed by France and the UK (47%) and Australia (44%).

Hong Kong is infamous for its long working hours, and the city’s workers are facing the brunt of a constantly high workload, says a report from enterprise AI and automation software company UiPath commenting on its 2024 – Global Knowledge Worker Survey. The report collated the results of 9,047 online respondents from nine countries – the US, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, France, Germany and the UK.

More than a third (33%) of respondents in Hong Kong indicate feeling extremely or very burnt out, which is slightly higher than the global average (32%). To reduce burnout and improve engagement in the workplace, the survey finds, Hong Kong workers want reduced workload (64%), access to AI and automation, including GenAI tools (44%), and the flexibility to be more creative (44).

Similarly, Gen AI is also seen as a potential solution to combat burnout by giving employees time back in their day. Specifically, 59% of Hong Kong workers who use GenAI at work, the survey finds, believe it has saved them time on work-related tasks, such as translating (41%), drafting communications (36%) and even brainstorming (30%).

Almost one in two (48%) of workers say they save 10 or more hours with the use of GenAI at work. As a result, they are able to spend more time with their family (48%), end their workday earlier (46%) and invest more time in creative tasks (45%).

While the majority of Hong Kong knowledge workers (72%) are not using GenAI and business automation together, those who are have seen greater productivity gains. By using both technologies, more than half (51%) of Hong Kong knowledge workers have seen greater productivity and the ability to get tasks done faster, with better internal workflows (43%) and higher accuracy in work (43%). Close to half (45%) also have reduced feelings of burnout.

The survey of 578 full-time Hong Kong workers also finds:

  • Companies are helping their workers in using GenAI for work: only 37% of Hong Kong workers indicate that their company has not offered any training or guidelines on how to use GenAI, which is the lowest compared with other surveyed markets.
  • Hong Kong workers generally trust GenAI tools to drive greater business value: 52% of workers believe GenAI tools have the context needed from their business’ own data to support business processes and drive value.
  • GenAI is being applied across departments: Hong Kong workers who use GenAI tools at work mostly perform roles in information technology (84%), executive leadership (81%) and human resources (66%).

There are still concerns, the survey reveals, about the shortcomings and risks of using GenAI:

  • Workers are most concerned about the following when using GenAI: Security risks (37%), inaccurate output (34%) and inadequate governance to ensure proper usage (25%).
  • However, Hong Kong workers generally have greater trust (63%) in GenAI outputs compared with their global counterparts (48%).

Millennial and Gen Z workers in Hong Kong are more likely to use GenAI tools at work, and have seen greater time-saving benefits from implementing these tools compared with older generations:

  • 75% of Gen Z and 58% of millennial respondents believe GenAI has saved them time on work-related tasks, compared with 47% for Gen X respondents.
  • A majority of Hong Kong workers (63%) across generations are generally trusting of the output they get from GenAI tools.

“The latest government budget has mentioned AI as an important driver of a new round of technological and industrial transformation,” says Disaree Wong, UiPath’s regional vice-president and general manager for Hong Kong and China. “Therefore, wide adoption of technologies like GenAI and business automation will be critical to drive the development of Hong Kong’s digital economy. For businesses that haven’t been able to turn AI potential into results, automation is a crucial piece of the puzzle that makes AI actionable.

“The findings from our survey indicate that Hong Kong workers who do use both technologies have seen greater productivity and an improved work life balance. To inculcate a more fulfilled workforce, initiatives to plug skill gaps, foster greater trust in AI, as well as strategic private-public partnerships will be key to helping workers embrace digital transformation in the age of AI.”

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