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Generative AI in Asia Pacific

Young employees lead as employers play catch-up

A new report from Deloitte Insights featuring research by Deloitte Access Economics and Deloitte AI Institute, provides an analysis of 11,900 surveyed individuals in 13 countries across the region and highlights the role of younger employees in driving generative AI (GenAI) adoption, presenting new challenges and opportunities for employers as they adapt to these changes.

Eighteen months on from the launch of Generative AI, there has been a deluge of research during this frenzied period of GenAI advancement and adoption. With the research mostly focused on business use and adoption of GenAI and government regulation, a key perspective has been missing… who is using it and what are the implications for organisations and senior business leaders?

A new Deloitte report titled Generative AI in Asia Pacific: young employees lead as employers play catch-up reveals that 'Generation AI' are leading the way in saved work hours, new skill development opportunities, more sustainable workloads, and increased productivity.

Generation AI describes children and young adults (up to 24 years old) who have grown up in an era of smart devices, voice assistants, recommendation algorithms, and other AI-powered technologies. They have experienced AI in various aspects of their lives, from entertainment and education to healthcare and daily interactions since early childhood. As such, they’re characterised by their digital fluency and ability to navigate and use AI technologies.


A New Zealand perspective


The likelihood of using GenAI is significantly higher among the younger generation, aged 18 to 24, compared to those who are mid-career. According to the report, 52% of New Zealand employees have engaged with Generative AI, with the rate jumping to 72% among university students. Students and employees are leading the GenAI revolution across Asia Pacific but only half believe their manager knows they are using it.

Just 21% of employees believe their business is taking full advantage of GenAI, but those who are incorporating GenAI into their daily work routine are seeing benefits, saving an average of 5.4 hours each week in New Zealand. Of those, 41% believe the time saved has positively impacted their work-life balance.

New Zealander's top three ranked benefits of GenAI are:

  • Increased speed at completing tasks (79%)
  • Increased ability to generate new ideas (70%)
  • Improved quality of your outputs or work tasks (66%)

The survey positions New Zealand as cautious in adopting GenAI, ranking seventh out of nine countries in the region and just ahead of Australia by two percentage points. The main obstacles are similar to those in Australia: a lack of understanding (24%), concerns about risk (23%), and no clear strategy (17%).

Developed economies in the Asia-Pacific not only lag in GenAI adoption but also have a significant number of workers in sectors likely to be affected by AI. Yet in New Zealand, nearly half (48%) of workers believe their job roles won't be influenced by GenAI, whereas only 31% of workers in Japan, India, and China feel the same.

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