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PwC Survey: Executives and Workers Differ on Tech Concerns

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 22, 2023

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In the latest PwC Pulse Survey of more than 600 business executives, three-quarters said that employee fears about losing their jobs to technology present a challenging to transforming their business.

Ranging from chief financial officers to human resources directors, the leaders reported being worried about obtaining a return on technology investments and training their workers on new technology.

Twenty-seven percent of the executives said that embedding new technologies into their business model is the top strategic priority over the next three to five years. And 59 percent said that they will invest in new technologies such as cloud or artificial intelligence (AI) in the next 12 to 18 months. Forty-six percent, said that they will invest in generative AI (GenAI) specifically.

Yet an overwhelming number of these executives, 88 percent, reported struggling to capture value from their technology investments. Eight-five percent cited the cost of adoption for new technologies as a challenge, 85 percent also cited updating their operating model to support their new vision as a challenge, while 84 percent cited training talent on new technology as a challenge.

If that weren’t enough, these executives are confronted by an anxious workforce fearful about being replaced by technology.

"That presents a challenge of bringing employees along," said Neil Dhar, vice chair, U.S. consulting solutions co-leader at PwC, in a press briefing about the survey results, Insider reported. To ease those fears, Dhar said that many leaders are focused on making sure their employees understand what their roles might look like in the future.

Such concerns may be well-founded, however. A Goldman Sachs report found that more than 300 million jobs around the world could be disrupted by artificial intelligence (AI). McKinsey estimated that at least 12 million Americans would change to another field of work by 2030.

PwC surveyed 609 U.S. executives between Aug. 1 and 8, 2023, the firm reported, including CFOs and finance leaders (22 percent), tax leaders (15 percent), risk management leaders, including chief revenue officers, chief audit executives and chief information security officers (13 percent), chief information officers, chief technology officers and technology leaders (13 percent), chief human resources officers and human capital leaders (13 percent), chief operating officers and operations leaders (10 percent), corporate board directors (8 percent) and chief marketing officers and marketing leaders (6 percent). Respondents were from public and private companies in six sectors: industrial products (27 percent), consumer markets (22 percent), financial services (19 percent), technology, media and telecom (18 percent), health industries (7 percent) and energy and utilities (6 percent). The Pulse Survey is conducted on a periodic basis to track the changing sentiment and priorities of business executives.

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