A new workplace report finds formal policies are not being developed quickly enough for the use of AI. 

    Australia is trailing its Asia Pacific region counterparts on the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, with 33 per cent of business leaders saying in a new survey that their workplace is not using AI and has no plans to adopt it. From a risk perspective, only 18 per cent of those organisations that have adopted AI have devised policies around AI within six months of implementation — and 38 per cent have no plans to establish formal policies at all.

    Australian businesses are also slow to put in place policies to create guardrails around the technology in their workplace, the PersolKelly 2024 APAC Workforce Insights report found. Just 21 per cent of Australian business leaders said it would take up to a year to establish AI policies, compared to the regional average of 29 per cent agreeing they would have AI policies established in their workplace within a year.

    New Zealand leads in current APAC workplace AI usage at 82 per cent — almost double the Asia Pacific average of 43 per cent — while Australia sits at 35 per cent, with one of the lowest AI usages among all markets.

    Access the Future Workplace: Opportunity and Adversity in AI report here

    Heavy load

    More NFP directors are receiving remuneration, but duties and responsibilities are taking up a greater amount of time.

    The AICD’s NFP Governance and Performance Study 2023–24 found that close to half of the respondents (47 per cent) spend more than three days a month on governance of their not-for-profit.

    Half of all the respondents to the survey indicated that they are spending more time on director duties compared to last year, however 21 per cent of NFP directors said that they receive remuneration, up from 14 per cent five years ago. In the past 12 months, cyber attacks have affected 21 per cent of the organisations surveyed.

    Workers fear job cuts

    In 2024, workers are wary and recruitment priorities vary widely.

    Organisations are prioritising hiring to fill positions created by organisational growth (52 per cent) and replacing roles due to ongoing turnover (45 per cent) according to a survey of 1000 employers in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

    Results of the 12th annual employment and salary report from Australasian recruitment company people2people reveal that only 15 per cent of employers plan to hire seasonal staff, 24 per cent anticipate no recruitment, and four per cent expect redundancies. More than 10,000 employees shared their experiences and opinions on various workplace topics impacting their professional lives.

    The cost of living crisis has prompted over one-third of workers to bank their annual leave, fearing both rising costs and potential job cuts. Additionally, more than 70 per cent of respondents are hesitant to seek new roles due to global economic uncertainty, while 64 per cent expressed heightened financial concerns compared to 2023.

    Combatting cybercrime

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will continue to invest in tech-based solutions to centralise intelligence.

    The number of scam reports rose by 18.5 per cent in Australia in 2023, according to the ACCC, although total losses fell. The latest Targeting Scams report reveals a 13.1 per cent decline in reported losses to $2.74b in 2023, following the National Anti-Scam Centre’s collaborative efforts across government, law enforcement, consumer organisations and industry.

    The report compiles data from Scamwatch, ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange, IDCARE and ASIC. It shows that Australians made over 601,000 scam reports to these organisations in 2023, an 18.5 per cent increase on 2022. In terms of financial losses, investment scams continued to cause the most harm ($1.3b), followed by remote access scams ($256m) and romance scams ($201.1m).

    ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe says that while the National Anti-Scam Centre has made a positive impact since it was established in July 2023, there is much more work to do. “Over the next two years, we will continue to invest in technology-based solutions that will centralise intelligence and distribute information to those who can act on it — such as banks to freeze accounts, telcos to block calls or SMS and digital platforms to take down websites or accounts.”

    Keep up to date on workplace legislation changes

    The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is helping employers, employees and others to stay across changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) that are coming about as part of the Australian government’s “Closing Loopholes” laws. The changes take effect between December 2023 and August 2025. The FWO is currently reviewing its resources and preparing updates. It has visual snapshots summarising the changes and listing the key start dates.

    This article first appeared under the headline 'Governance and Guardrails Lacking’ in the June 2024 issue of Company Director magazine.

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