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New Deloitte report: Digital natives leading Generative AI adoption in developing Asia Pacific economies; Singapore employees believe 64% of their tasks will be automated or augmented in next five years

SINGAPORE, 14 May 2024 - A new report released by Deloitte Insights, Generative AI in Asia Pacific: Young employees lead as employers play catch-up, highlights the role of tech-savvy, younger employees, known as ‘Generation AI’, in driving Generative AI (gen AI) adoption, presenting new challenges and opportunities for employers as they adapt to these changes. Emphasising the need for employers and policymakers to adapt to this rapidly evolving technology, the report which surveyed 11,9001 individuals in Asia Pacific, including 1,300 respondents from Singapore, reveals that 'Generation AI' are leading the way in saved work hours, new skill development opportunities, more sustainable workloads, and increased productivity.

Key findings from the report:

  • Generation AI leads the way: Students and employees are leading the gen AI revolution across Asia Pacific, but only half believe their manager knows they are using it. In Singapore, a majority of students (86%) and employees (67%) use gen AI, above the Asia Pacific average of 81% and 62% respectively
  • Significant impact: Gen AI could significantly impact 16% of working hours – over 11 billion work hours – across Asia Pacific each week. In Singapore, the top three benefits cited for gen AI use are increased speed at completing tasks (75%), increased ability to generate new ideas (72%), and improved quality of outputs or work tasks (69%)
  • Traditional technology hierarchy: This may be disrupted with take up rates of gen AI in developing countries 30% higher compared to developed economies across Asia Pacific. In Singapore, 60% of respondents believe that gen AI will mean Asia Pacific has a greater role in the global economy
  • Talent benefits: Gen AI enables employees to allocate time to acquire new skills, helping them save 6.3 hours a week across Asia Pacific on average, and 4.4 hours a week in Singapore
  • Saves time: Gen AI can support more sustainable workloads and productivity with 41% of time savers in Asia Pacific believing this has improved their work-life balance
  • Managing risks: Nearly three quarters of businesses in Asia Pacific are falling behind on gen AI adoption, according to their own employees. In Singapore, only 47% of employees believe their industry is taking full advantage of gen AI

Commenting on the report, Deloitte Asia Pacific’s AI & Data Capability Leader, Chris LEWIN said, “One of the most exciting aspects of working with gen AI is that across the globe it is happening to everything, everywhere, all at once. What we’ve experienced in the last twelve months is that the challenges faced by our clients in Indonesia or India are almost immediately relevant to teams in Italy and Ireland. One key lesson is that the rapid adoption of AI won’t directly eliminate jobs, but the impact will be felt by businesses that fail to adapt. Their employees and in particular, talent new to the workforce, will be drawn to rival businesses offering AI applications that are capable of redrawing the future of modern work.”

In Singapore, where the percentage of gen AI users is set to increase by 203% in the next five years, the top two concerns for business adoption are lack of talent and concerns about risk. Only 50% of respondents have acted to prepare for the proliferation of the technology and only 47% of employees believe their industry is taking full advantage of gen AI.

To this end, businesses and universities in Singapore have already taken steps in anticipation of the increasing use of gen AI. Businesses are most commonly speaking with employees about gen AI (43%), encouraging on-the-job learning (42%), and providing guidelines on how to use gen AI at work (40%). Universities are encouraging learning around gen AI (60%), providing guidelines on how to use gen AI (56%), followed by speaking with students about gen AI (55%).

A Big Bang, Short Fuse Scenario

To further unpack the impact of gen AI on the Asia Pacific region, Deloitte Access Economics mapped 18 industries in terms of the extent of gen AI’s impact – the “bang” – and how soon those industries will be affected – the length of the “fuse”. It is estimated that USD$5 trillion (S$$6.7 trillion) of economic activity within industries will face a short fuse, big bang scenario: impactful and disruptive change within the near term.

The four industries impacted by this scenario are finance, ICT and media, professional services, and education, which account for an average of 20% of the economies of each market in Asia Pacific. This share is expected to grow as some of the markets increasingly shift towards service industries like professional services, finance and ICT, that face higher impact. These industries are also where over 40% of students who are using gen AI plan to start their careers, further accelerating the pace of transformation.

Three key actions for businesses to adopt

On average, employees in Singapore believe that 64% of their tasks will be automated or augmented by gen AI within the next five years.

The rise of gen AI means that business leaders and employees both need to think strategically and act proactively to respond to the rapidly changing environment. Based on the analysis of the report findings, businesses are urged to take the following high-impact actions:

  1. Develop and implement a gen AI strategy that brings your employees on the journey
  2. Empower your employees to own their AI journey
  3. Develop your data infrastructure iteratively as needed to embrace gen AI

“Rather than just making current tasks more efficient, CEOs and senior leaders need to use the new technologies to completely rethink their company’s processes and business models. Restructuring work to enable the use of gen AI can make for happier employees and customers while also improving profitability,” added Deloitte Asia Pacific’s Consulting Business Leader Rob HILLARD.

To access the full report and learn more about the findings, please visit Generation AI in Asia Pacific | Deloitte Insights

1 In February and March 2024, Deloitte Access Economics surveyed 2,903 university students and 9,042 employees across thirteen locations: Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan (China), South Korea, New Zealand and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).

Press contact:

Estella Toh

Clarissa Sih
+ 65 6531 5248


Deloitte Access Economics developed this report in collaboration with the Deloitte AI institute and Deloitte Insights to understand the use of gen AI by employees and students, current actions taken by individuals, businesses and educational providers, the barriers to Gen AI adoption and expectations for the future across thirteen countries in the Asia Pacific region.

This report is informed by a survey fielded by Dynata from February to April 2024. Survey respondents were either students or employees at various levels across a range of industries. A total of 2,903 students and 9,042 employees from the 13 countries were surveyed (see Table A.1 in the report for individual country sample breakdown).

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© 2024 Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd.

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