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Pearson Study Finds GenAI Can Save UK Workers 19 Million Hours Per Week

By Tracey E. Schelmetic

Can artificial intelligence take our jobs?

The answer is blurry; “Yes and No.”

While it may be a long, long time before AI can (in theory) fully replace humans, there is bona fide evidence that it can make our jobs easier.

In fact, new research from learning company Pearson has revealed what it calls “the massive potential” of generative AI to boost workplace productivity by helping workers in the United Kingdom to save 19 million hours a week on routine and repetitive tasks.

The latest installment of Pearson’s Skills Outlook series entitled, “Reclaim the Clock: How Generative AI Can Power People at Work” identifies the top 10 job tasks with the most time saved by using the technology, in five countries (Australia, Brazil, India, U.K. and U.S.). Pearson’s workforce planning platform, powered by generative AI, finds that the work Gen AI can most effectively support is focused on tasks related to maintaining records, data collection or researching and compiling information for others.

So what are the top 10 tasks GenAI can help automate, and how much time can it save? According to the study, they include:

  • Maintaining current knowledge in area of expertise (679,000 hours)
  • Developing educational programs, plans or procedures (665,000 hours)
  • Creating visual designs or displays (525,000 hours)
  • Maintaining operational records (512,000 hours)
  • Preparing legal or regulatory documents (490,000 hours)
  • Maintaining health or medical records (406,000 hours)
  • Preparing reports of operational or procedural activities (401,000 hours)
  • Advising others on products or services (387,000 hours)
  • Explaining regulations, policies or procedures (386,000 hours)
  • Monitoring individual behavior or performance (383,000 hours)

By augmenting basic tasks with generative AI, companies and their workers can reallocate time to focus on the high value work that humans do best: strategic thinking, collaboration, caring for others, decision making, innovation, problem solving, empathy, leadership.

“In nearly every workplace, people spend their day on common, time-consuming tasks that eat away at productivity or their work-life balance,” said Oliver Latham, VP of Strategy and Growth for Pearson Workforce Skills. “If those tasks could be augmented with generative AI, employers and their workers could reallocate time to the things that needs a more human touch and mean more to their customers. Employers should consider how to incorporate this new technology into their teams, and redesign roles to free people to focus on more valuable, human tasks. They should also consider the need for training and support for employees, so they can use it effectively and responsibly.”

Edited by Alex Passett
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