Gen Z should come to office more if they want to succeed in AI era, PwC boss says

Connie Queline

Gen Z should come to office more if they want to succeed in AI era, PwC boss says

As companies beckon employees back to the office, the debate over the productivity merits of in-person working intensifies. The discussion extends beyond traditional dynamics, with generative AI increasingly taking on tasks, particularly for early-career workers.

In this evolving landscape, PwC U.K.’s Chairman and Senior Partner, Kevin Ellis, suggests a strategy for success in the workplace: Increased office presence for younger employees.

“If you’re asking me my opinion on how you succeed in your career,” Ellis said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bloomberg reported Monday. “I’d be in the office four to five days a week.”

He noted that generative AI was taking on “tasks that in the past our more junior staff trained and cut their teeth on.” In the absence of such tasks to engage younger employees—many of whom are likely Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012)—spending more days present in the office could help advance their careers, Ellis argued.    

“It’s a lot more face-to-face time being important and a lot more developing,” Ellis said. “So you have to get people in the office more working together.”

Ellis’s comments add to the sea of research that shows that bosses want their employees back in the office, with surveys showing that they’re more likely to be promoted or rewarded if they did so.

In the U.K., workers were spending more time in the office than they were working from home, according to a study published in October, pointing to how the tide has turned.

Still, employees seem to favor the option of working remotely, even if that means a pay cut in some cases.

Gen AI is becoming commonplace at work

As generative AI becomes more prominent in the workplace, more U.K. CEOs are investing in the technology to make sure they gain a competitive edge against rivals and tap into its opportunities. 

Company chiefs in Britain are implementing generative AI tools faster than their counterparts in the U.S. and elsewhere in Europe, a PwC survey of CEOs from 105 countries published Monday reveals.

“GenAI presents a ‘move or lose’ moment – implemented with care, it offers huge benefits for efficiency, competitiveness, and ultimately profitability,” Ellis said in the report.

Gen Z employees will be in the thick of this generative AI revolution as they enter the workforce or upskill to keep up with its development. 

The jury is still out on how the triage of productivity, demand for flexible work and generative AI plays out in the workplace, but if all the stars align, it could foster creativity, make people better at their jobs and promote inclusivity.   

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