Business students ready for AI in the workplace

09 Feb 2024

As many as 78% of business students in the UK said they are prepared to enter an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven world, whilst 45% said they're excited about AI's role in their work. This is according to the latest research carried out by revenue intelligence leader Gong. These results could allow UK businesses to breathe a sigh of relief, as almost 90% of firms are already implementing AI, and 82% want to introduce more AI tech into the day-to-day. 

AI's integration into workplaces in Britain has stirred both enthusiasm and apprehension. However, it appears that the upcoming workforce has acknowledged its unavoidable influence. A majority, 69%, believe that AI is a permanent fixture and deem it essential to embrace for their professional advancement. The positive outlook regarding employment in an AI-driven setting is supported by a sense of confidence, with 95% of surveyed students expressing that they already have an understanding of AI and its significance in the business sphere.

What are the students saying?

Ben Robinson, final year PPE student at the University of Exeter said: "AI is undoubtedly reshaping the world of work, and as I near the end of my studies and look to my career beyond university, its impact is definitely something I've considered. This technology holds huge potential to support workers, particularly in the field of sales and related client facing roles. As long as individuals are equipped with the correct skills to use AI as a beneficial tool within their work, I believe its adoption should be celebrated, and not feared."

Meanwhile, Anna Carway, a recent university graduate and sales development representative at Gong, said: "AI is nothing to be scared of – it's not some crazy phenomenon; it just makes my life easier and more efficient. It does the things you don't even think about, like automating processes and reducing doubling up on tasks. It's not the be-all-and-end-all, but if you already have a good work ethic and you fully integrate it into your ways of working, it can make you twice as successful."

Degree of caution surrounding AI

Although business students have expressed optimism about their capacity to adapt to AI, they also harbour apprehensions, with 65% expressing concern that their post-university employment could be ousted by AI within the next decade. The issue of job security weighs heavily on students as they contemplate their career trajectories, with 71% indicating a preference for roles or sectors less susceptible to AI displacement when making career decisions. As many as 85% of the students polled say customer support roles will be most impacted by AI, whilst just 18% believe sales jobs will be the least affected.

Benefits of AI

According to deVere boss Nigel Green: "AI is a wide-ranging tech that enables people to rethink how we integrate information, analyse data, and use the resulting insights to enhance our decision-making. AI is already changing the world and raising important issues for society, the economy, and governance. Whilst there are also concerns about the ethical and social implications of AI, such as privacy and bias, it has the potential to bring about considerable positive changes, not least in areas including healthcare, education, business, and public services."