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Professionals in UAE and Saudi Arabia think AI will be an ‘invisible teammate’ in the workplace

A majority of Saudi and UAE workers believe that artificial intelligence will have a significant impact on their work within the next year.

Professionals in UAE and Saudi Arabia think AI will be an ‘invisible teammate’ in the workplace
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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We’re in the middle of a sea change in the workplace. Companies are spending big on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning initiatives. A recent LinkedIn survey found that many Saudi and UAE employees are preparing for a new way of working — 79% of Saudi employees and 67% of UAE workers believe that AI will bring significant change to their work within the next year.

In Saudi Arabia, 85% of workers believe AI will significantly change their work within the next five years, and 86% think AI will be an invisible teammate to help them with their work.

This sentiment is also shared in the UAE —  72% also expect AI to have a significant impact on their work within the next five years, and more than three quarters, 81%, believe it is likely that AI will function as an “invisible teammate.”

Both countries have been putting huge efforts into becoming AI and tech leaders within the region. Saudi Arabia announced its AI strategy in 2020, and the country established the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, responsible for overseeing all AI-related matters.

Similarly, the UAE has been investing heavily in the technology long before the global boost that followed the launch of ChatGPT. 

In 2017, the country launched its National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, which aims to make the UAE a global leader in AI innovation across various sectors. This initiative is the first of its kind in the region and globally.

The growing interest in AI is also evident in the appetite of professionals in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to learn more about the technology. In Saudi Arabia, 70% of professionals want to learn how to use AI in their work, and 79% are confident in their ability to use AI tools.

In the UAE, over half (54%) of professionals already use AI in their jobs, and 41% are trying AI tools like ChatGPT. An overwhelming majority are also optimistic about AI’s career potential, with 98% saying they are excited to use AI in their work. 

“It’s also clear that people are eager to learn more about AI, and we’re seeing a significant increase in conversations on LinkedIn with members already adding AI skills to their profiles, but our data also highlights the enormous value of soft skills as humans learn to partner with AI– and this is what is now shaping the future of work,” said Ali Matar, EMEA Growth Markets Leader and Head of LinkedIn MENA

Surprisingly, Gen Z in Saudi Arabia is growing concerned about the fast advancement of AI technology. Over 60% of Gen-Z employees surveyed are concerned about their level of knowledge about AI and worried that they should know more about it.

“Getting up to speed can feel overwhelming, and there is more to be done to educate and train professionals to ensure they feel knowledgeable and ready to fully embrace AI,” added Matar.

“This is particularly true for the younger age group, who are showing more signs of hesitation in adopting AI, albeit eager to learn as they also recognize the many benefits AI can bring to their working lives, including supporting them with career progression and enabling a better work-life balance.”

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