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2024 sees AI usage increase in the workplace

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Is the rise in AI contributing to a more significant tech skills gap? Recent studies and publications suggest that this may be the case. The increase in popularity and usage of AI has been making headlines for some time now. Concerns around the technology replacing roles, the ever-growing technology skills gap, and cybersecurity challenges are some of the top discussions around AI adoption. In this article, we aim to examine the recent increase in AI in the workplace and what the upsurge in its adoption means for contractors, particularly IT contractors.

Increase in AI adoption in the workplace:

You may have seen the term AI or artificial intelligence become increasingly popular over the last few months as it has become more popular and has increased in usage across multiple roles and industries. The Work Trend Index report published by Microsoft and LinkedIn in May 2024 suggested that the use of Generative AI has grown by nearly double in recent months. The report found that 75% of knowledge workers surveyed utilise AI tools in their work, while 46% revealed that they only began using these tools in the past six months.

The growing tech skills gap:

With the rapid evolution of technology and the growing popularity of AI, many organisations within the technology sector are facing difficulties in finding skilled talent. A recent study by Robert Half reported that 95% of those tech leaders surveyed stated they are facing challenges in finding skilled candidates, and 62% said that they believe the skills gap has grown more prevalent over the past year. Amongst the most pervasive skills gaps identified by the study are machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, followed by those in cloud technology, IT systems and automation.

The report highlighted that of those business leaders surveyed, 55% stated they had concerns over having enough talent to fill roles within their organisations. The report found that 60% of business leaders in industries such as engineering, cybersecurity and creative design shared these concerns about finding talent. The study also recommended that businesses enforce a scalable talent model and embrace hiring a mix of contractors, consultants, and permanent staff to address the skills gap best.

In-demand skills:

What are the skills most in demand? In a recent article by Upwork's Research Institute, machine learning, generative AI modelling and data analytics were listed as some of the most in-demand tech skills for 2024. This is further supported by a recent study by Robert Half, which highlights that organisations are seeking candidates who have high potential and demonstrate strong soft skills alongside technical skills in the areas of cloud technology, AI, big data, statistics, software engineering, and more.


The main concerns surrounding AI in the workplace centre around data security, cybersecurity, filing vacant roles and the possibility of AI making some roles redundant. While the tech industry suggests the promise of more opportunities, other sectors see fears of job losses as AI adoption grows. An August 2023 article by Pavel Shynkarenko for Forbes addresses whether AI will replace freelancers. The piece acknowledges that AI will replace freelancers in areas such as data entry, mock designing, translation, and generating industry-specific questions and answers. Similarly, a recent article from Contractor UK highlighted that AI tools still present limitations and that human intervention remains essential.

An April 2024 survey by the Adecco group suggests that AI will reduce workers over the next five years. The study saw organisations across many countries, including the UK, Spain, Germany, and France, to name a few countries in the survey. Of the senior business executives who participated in the survey, 41% said they assume AI will reduce the workforce. These concerns particularly centre around generative AI, which we have seen its use expand over areas such as copywriting, image, and video creation.

However, a recent article by Reuters highlights that other studies suggest otherwise. It cites a study published by the World Economic Forum in 2023 that hinted that half of organisations see AI generating new jobs, compared to 25% of organisations that envisage AI leading to a loss in roles. However, despite this, the study has suggested that IT contractors and candidates will likely see increased salaries for roles due to increased demand for workers with strong AI skills. Similarly, in his article for Forbes, Pavel Shynkarenko highlights that despite its capabilities, AI has many limitations, and its effectiveness and accuracy can diminish when it comes to creating unique ideas, dealing with unforeseen circumstances, and understanding cultural references and nuances. The article suggests a growing job market for freelancers who can effectively utilise AI and display fluency in working with these technologies. Shynkarenko highlights his belief that professionals who effectively utilise AI will be able to move at a faster pace than their peers.

What does this mean for contractors and freelance professionals?

As we have explored, despite concerns that AI will lead to job losses, many studies and articles anticipate increased roles in the technology sector and increased opportunities for those who display proficiency in working with AI and cloud technologies. As businesses adapt to new technologies, they will need expert professionals who can work with these technologies in their organisations. This will bring about new opportunities for contractors and freelance professionals across multiple industries as businesses seek out talent proficient in working with AI. Increased demand may also lead to higher pay rates. In their 2024 Contractor Day Rate Guide, Hayes UK highlights a 12% increase in pay for those working in Intelligent automation.

Additionally, AI could offer advantages to contractors and freelancers in other sectors. In a recent article by Forbes outlining trends in the world of freelancing, AI was cited as a technology that will aid freelance professionals and revolutionise how they work. The piece suggests that AI will equip freelancers with operational support that was often previously limited to those working within larger organisations. Such operational support can include but is not limited to analytics, presentation tools, data such as market research data, templates and delivery tools. With such technologies becoming more accessible and reducing administrative tasks, freelancers and contract professionals may be able to increase and improve deliverables.

In conclusion:

One thing is sure: AI will significantly impact jobs across multiple sectors.

2024 has seen workplaces adopt AI at increasing levels, and it seems that the technology is here to stay and grow across multiple industries. This presents opportunities for contractors and freelance professionals who embrace gaining new skills to work with these technologies. If you want to read more on the topic, please check out our article "How Generative AI will affect freelance employment opportunities."

At 3C Global, we work with freelance and contracting professionals across multiple sectors, providing expert advice, employment structures, AOR, EOR, and other specialist solutions. Our knowledgeable team is on hand to assist our clients with whatever their international query entails.

Please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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APSco SIA CM Member