Odgers Berndtson highlights optimism from Germany's managers towards AI

December 10, 2019
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Three quarters of executives in the DA-CH region have positive and open-minded applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in their companies, as the new Manager Barometer 2019/2020 of the international personnel consultancy Odgers Berndtson showed. The greatest advantages are seen in the optimization of processes and the elimination of repetitive tasks. The approximately 2,400 managers who took part in this year's survey tend not to share the fear that AI will make many jobs redundant. 

Nevertheless, two-thirds of the participants assume that AI will significantly change their leadership role and require new know-how.

74.3% of executives perceive the current change processes through AI in their companies positively, 23.7% of participants tend to have mixed feelings, and only 2% view AI with great concern. Half of all managers (49.9%) see process optimization and the associated efficiency gains as the most important advantages of using AI. 35.8% perceive the elimination of repetitive tasks and thus more room for creative tasks as a significant advantage of AI applications. These advantages are felt most strongly by the younger generations of managers, especially by managers born after 1980 ("Generation Y").

"This broad approval is good news for the companies, because open, motivated executives are essential for the successful introduction and application of AI," comments Markus Trost, partner at Odgers Berndtson and head of the 2019/2020 manager barometer. "However, the positive assessment of the managers can also be seen against the background of the low level of market maturity and experience with AI applications."

Don't be afraid of losing your job

The managers in the DA-CH area do not share the fear - which has been expressed many times in the public discussion - that AI will make many jobs redundant. Only 10.5% expect an increased loss of job profiles due to the introduction of AI-oriented applications, while 37.5% assume that AI will create completely new job profiles, and a third believe that AI will change today's job profiles and require new know-how. Two-thirds of the participants also assessed the effects of AI on themselves personally: They expect AI to significantly change their leadership role in the next five years. 

"In order to successfully integrate AI applications into the company, executives have to demonstrate the required 'mindset' in a credible way," explains Trost.

Need for action in preparing companies for AI

Managers do not yet believe their employers are optimally equipped to implement AI. The executives see a need for action above all in the further training of employees (only 3.5% or 19.5% strongly or more strongly agree here) and the ethical handling of data (5.8% or 19.0% approval); organizational, strategic, and cultural adjustments with regard to AI are perceived by the survey participants, but they still see a need to catch up here.

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December 10, 2019

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