Workers in Scotland are increasingly turning to generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT in order to boost productivity, new research has shown.

Business consultancy Accenture’s latest UK labour force survey has shown office and remote workers are both using the technology – and report increased job satisfaction as a result.

The research shows a growing use of generative AI in the workplace, with over four in ten (43 per cent) workers in Scotland using the tools at least once per week, and under one in ten (8 per cent) workers using them daily.

Of those polled, 63 per cent of those who have used generative AI tools at work said it made them feel more satisfied about their job. Virtually all (95 per cent) of those who have used the tools say they found them useful.

Twenty-four per cent also reported that it made them feel more productive and/or freed up time to do more quality work. Whilst 28 per cent of workers who have never used generative AI tools at work, admitted they don’t yet understand how to use them.

For those respondents who have used generative AI tools at work, the most popular tasks which workers north of the Border are currently using generative AI to help them with include research and data analysis (30 per cent), brainstorming (30 per cent), plus administrative and operational processes (21 per cent).  Meanwhile 21 per cent of workers in Scotland believe AI tools offer the potential for them to be more productive in the future. 

Across the UK, younger generations are most likely to embrace generative AI, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) of generation Z workers (18–24-year-olds) using the technology at least once per week, compared with just over a fifth (22 per cent) of those aged 55 and over. The research also shows a generational divide in the uptake of workplace training on generative AI. Over half (58 per cent) of those aged 18-24 years old have received training on generative AI, versus only 17 per cent of those aged over 55.

Mark Byrne, Scotland applied intelligence lead, Accenture UKI, said: “Generative AI has captured attention in every industry thanks to recent developments that have made the technology more accessible to the everyday worker. Our research highlights the positive impact generative AI is having in the Scottish workplace already, providing an opportunity for organisations to reinvent the tasks people do day-to-day. This highlights generative AI’s potential to not only boost operational efficiency but also create a more skilled, efficient, and agile workforce.”

The poll also surveyed people on how they would want to spend their working lives if AI helped them with elements of their job. In a recent report, Accenture estimated that 40 per cent of working hours will be impacted by generative AI. When asked on how they would spend their time saved, over a third (38 per cent) of Scottish respondents said they would focus on improving the quality of their work, whilst 22 per cent would seek to use the extra time to focus more on their lives outside of work.

Byrne said. “We anticipate there will continue to be a strong appetite for AI from office workers, with many exploring it as an opportunity to find greater overall satisfaction in their working lives. The rise of generative AI is an opportunity to improve organisational efficiency, but only if businesses respond quickly and responsibly. While individual use is a strong starting point, organisation-wide adoption and training in generative AI competency must follow to extract real value.”

Accenture’s latest Pulse of Change report found that approximately two thirds of leaders globally are also optimistic about the impact generative AI will have on their people, on both how work gets done and their overall work experience. Whilst customer service (58 per cent), marketing (51 per cent) and finance (44 per cent) are the top three priority areas businesses plan to invest in generative AI over the next three years.