Exploring the rise of AI savvy students in Australia’s workforce

Exploring the rise of AI savvy students in Australia's workforce

Australian universities are buzzing with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), as new research reveals that more than half of students anticipating careers in professional services like law are already harnessing the power of generative AI. A recent report by Deloitte Access Economics and the Deloitte AI Institute delivers crucial insights for business leaders on this burgeoning trend.

The comprehensive study entitled “Generation AI: Ready or not, here we come!” surveyed 2,000 employees across 18 different sectors and 550 students, unveiling that a staggering 58 per cent of students are already utilizing Gen AI. This figure places students at twice the likelihood of existing workers to adopt such advanced technologies, marking a significant shift in the professional landscape.

Notably, the report states there is “no doubt” that the current cohort of students is Australia’s “most tech-savvy yet” and suggests the imminent arrival of “Generation AI” in the workforce. Employers, especially those in the legal field, are urged to prepare for this new wave of AI-familiar employees whose expectations and innovative approaches may greatly benefit business.

Despite the advancements seen among students, the report also highlights a lag in AI adoption within Australian businesses. With only 9.5 per cent of large businesses officially integrating AI and Australia ranking second-last in Gen AI deployment among 14 leading economies, there is a substantial disruption ahead—especially given that AI investment is expected to escalate sevenfold by 2030.

Deloitte Access economics lead technology partner John O’Mahony emphasized the importance of the findings, stating, “Businesses need to prepare for this new generation of AI users – tech-savvy young people who are using Gen AI regularly to study, live and work better.” He foresees that these young individuals will significantly alter business operations and the application of emerging technologies.

Highlighting the gap between individual uptake and business adoption of Gen AI, Dr Kellie Nuttall, the lead strategy and business design partner at Deloitte Australia, points out that while there are disruptive threats, these are eclipsed by the vast opportunities ahead.

Adam Powick, Deloitte Australia’s chief executive, addresses his peers with a clear message: accept the reality of generative AI and steer its responsible application. His advice is to pursue education about AI’s potential within each unique setting and to advocate for its adoption and innovation.