SINGAPORE: Singapore has emerged as the leading country in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region for integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into workplace operations, according to a recent report by PERSOLKELLY.

The study indicates that 45% of Singaporean businesses already use AI in their daily functions, and another 38% plan to adopt AI technologies soon.

47% of businesses in Singapore plan to implement internal AI policies within the next year. Meanwhile, 26% aim to do so within two years, and 9% expect it to take more than two years.

However, the report reveals a disparity in employer focus, emphasising technology adoption more than supporting employees through the transition.

While 45% of business leaders in Singapore are willing to redefine job roles to integrate AI, only 27% are prepared to help affected employees transition to new opportunities. This percentage is slightly lower than the APAC average of 36%.

Efforts to reskill and redeploy employees are underway, with 53% of businesses planning to offer reskilling programs and 47% intending to create new jobs that complement AI.

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Additionally, 41% of companies are educating employees on AI’s impacts and solutions.

Despite this, a significant skills gap persists. While 80% of employers expect substantial job displacement due to AI, only 16% plan to offer internal upskilling and just 17% intend to support employees in gaining relevant AI certifications and education.

The report suggests a need for more robust employee development programs to manage the transition to an AI-centric workplace.

The PERSOLKELLY study also reveals the primary reasons Singaporean firms are adopting AI. The top motivations include boosting productivity (57%), increasing efficiency (59%), and reducing human error (40%).

The most common AI tools in use are AI chatbots and virtual assistants (27%), AI for writing tasks (23%), and robotic process automation (RPA) tools (19%).

Only 8% of Singaporean firms plan to hire individuals with AI-related skills, while 5% intend to partner with specialized staffing companies.

The report also noted a relatively low percentage of leaders foreseeing AI’s impact on legal departments (11%) and recruitment processes (10%), compared to the broader APAC average of 16%.

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While Singapore leads the region in AI adoption, the report suggests that companies need to increase their efforts to support employees through this technological shift, with a stronger emphasis on reskilling and internal career development programs.