business survey

Will an AI replace the CEO in the executive suite? Nearly half the CEO’s think their role in management can be automated or replaced by an AI. The survey by edX, the online learning platform developed by Harvard and Yale universities, polled 800 C-suite executives, 500 of which were CEOs themselves.

Most CEOs thinks AI will be a game changer in the executive ranks, with 83% believing their jobs will be redefined in the coming year by AI. Many went even further: Nearly half of those surveyed said their job should be completely automated or replaced by an AI. Nine out of ten executives say at least “a little” of their jobs could be done by an AI.

Most executives recognize the potential for AI to come up with ideas for new markets, products or business models and to assist with planning, forecasting and other data-driven tasks. In fact, 92% are already using AI in their jobs and the same percentage thinks developing AI skills within the next two years is very important. Still, there is a great deal of uncertainty with executives experiencing both positive and negative feelings toward AI use. While 91% would like AI to support them, 81% feel they have no choice but to learn how to use AI. The vast majority are excited to learn AI skills but at the same time worry that if they don’t, they will be left behind. Most are optimistic that many of their jobs can be augmented by AI but more than half are overwhelmed by how to integrate AI within their role. Some 65% would like AI to take over some of their job tasks, even if it meant lower pay. But 51% feel threatened by AI. Most think that the next CEO of their organization will have AI expertise.

Most executives anticipate that AI will transform their organizations. Perhaps most notably, eight out of ten executives estimate that within the next five years, their organizations will eliminate over half of the entry-level knowledge workers positions because of AI. In fact, 79% predict that entry-level knowledge worker jobs will no longer exist as AI creates a new suite of roles for employees entering the workforce. Most agree that AI-savvy employees should be paid more and promoted more often. One caveat, however, is that employees may over-rely on AI so there should be an emphasis on what skills employees should learn beyond AI to advance their careers.

Most executives are integrating AI into their practices in various ways, with 41% increasing their AI training budget and 39% requiring their workforce learn AI skills. On the rise is the position of Chief AI Officer, with 31% of those surveyed reporting they have already created this position or plan to do so.

Among employees, however, 21% are learning AI skills on their own as their company doesn’t offer proper training. Gen-Z and millennials are particularly adamant about the need for AI training—51% say it is likely they will leave their current jobs for organizations with better AI training programs. Employers appear to be cognizant of this and plan to increase their AI training budgets. Almost all, in fact, agree that “companies are the new post-secondary colleges” and are accepting an increased responsibility for continuing employee education in the belief this will ensure retention.

The survey also found that Gen-Z already is using AI in a variety of ways. Among them:

–57% use AI to do part-time work for another company.

–62% are secretly learning AI to gain an advantage over their colleagues.

–55% are using AI to complete some of their job tasks and claim the work as their own

–61% use AI to work multiple part-time jobs

Surprisingly, the C-suite thinks it’s fine if employees use AI to work multiple jobs. The AI “side hustle” seems to be practically expected, just one more indication of how AI is transforming the nature of work.