Thai workers’ use of AI exceeds global average: Microsoft-LinkedIn study


Thai businesses and enterprises should accelerate their embrace of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology, including by preparing their employees for implementation, which would improve the competitiveness of their business, according to Microsoft Thailand managing director Dhanawat Suthumpun.

He made the remarks on Wednesday during a special media briefing to discuss the findings of the 2024 Work Trend Index, which focused on Thailand's current landscape of AI at work. 

The research titled “AI at work is here. Now comes the difficult part” was a joint study conducted by Microsoft and LinkedIn. It demonstrated that the use of generative AI at work has increased significantly globally over the last six months, with 75% of respondents admitting that they were already using AI at work. 

However, the number of Thai workers using AI at work is 92%, much higher than the world average. Among them, 81% of Thai office workers bring their own AI to work, which exceeds the global average of 78%.

Dhanawat noted that the findings reflected both the positive and negative aspects of Thailand's generative AI scenario in the workplace. 

Dhanawat Suthumpun

The positive side, he said, is that Thai office-workers are open-minded and eager to learn about new technologies, such as generative AI, as part of their jobs. However, the fact that workers use their own AI reflects the businesses' inability to incorporate AI into their employees' job descriptions. 

"The lack of concrete measures and letting workers use the AI tools of their choice – resulting in the emerging ‘Bring Your Own AI’ trend – may lead to companies missing out on the benefits that come with strategic AI use at scale and can put company data at risk," Dhanawat explained. 

According to the findings, 91% of Thai business leaders believe their company must adopt AI to remain competitive, significantly higher than the global average of 79%. However, 64% of Thai leaders (60% globally) believe that their organisation's leadership lacks a strategy and vision for implementing AI. Furthermore, many leaders struggle to quantify the impact of AI in order to justify investment, posing a challenge for businesses.

The lack of proper measures and policies in place to embrace AI hampered the development of the country's AI power users, who reorganised their workdays, saving an average of 30 minutes per day or 10 hours per month.

According to the study, Thai power users face a variety of support structures within their organisations. Only 28% of Thai power users hear about AI-related movements at work from their teams or departments, which is lower than the global average of 40%. In terms of learning opportunities, only 22% of Thai power users are given additional AI-related skills training, compared to 42% globally.

Meanwhile,  only 45% of Thai power users regularly experiment with AI use in new scenarios – considerably lower than the global average of 68%. 

Thai workers’ use of AI exceeds global average: Microsoft-LinkedIn study

Defined as distinct usage patterns that stand out from the crowd and are always looking for ways to change how they work with AI, these AI power users are currently in high demand in the workplace

AI skills are now regarded as critical assets in the workplace, both in Thailand and globally. According to the study, 74% of Thai business leaders (66% worldwide) would not hire candidates who did not have AI skills. 

Given the choice between AI skills and work experience, 90% of Thai leaders (71% globally) would prefer the employee with AI skills over the more experienced one.

Thai workers’ use of AI exceeds global average: Microsoft-LinkedIn study

Meanwhile, a majority of global leaders (55%) are concerned about finding enough talent to fill positions this year, with cybersecurity, engineering, and creative design leaders feeling the most pressure.

“We have to make AI a part of how we work and live – from looking up information or finding new ideas quickly to increasing productivity and creativity,” Dhanawat said.

He emphasised that with AI as an employee companion, organisations should establish clear goals and directions for how AI can help employees overcome challenges. Simultaneously, business leaders must consider how to improve AI skills across the workforce, provide effective and secure AI tools for employees, and allow executives and staff at all levels to collaborate on determining the organisation's AI policy.

Thai workers’ use of AI exceeds global average: Microsoft-LinkedIn study

"All of these moves are for their benefit so that they can create clarity and impact across every person and every department," he noted. "We can see that most employees have placed their trust in AI to help with their daily workload – without waiting to see if their organisation will provide AI tools, services, or directions and guidelines for usage."

“It is critical that business leaders respond to this emerging trend in order to help both the organisation and employees make the most beneficial impact from AI – from increased productivity and new capabilities to greater security from well-defined guidance around AI use,” he said.

Microsoft and LinkedIn's 2024 Work Trend Index was conducted between February 15 and March 24. The joint study is based on a survey of 31,000 people in 31 countries, including Thailand, LinkedIn labour and hiring trends, trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, and research with Fortune 500 customers. The main goal is to show how, in just one year, AI is changing the way people work, lead, and hire around the world, they said.