Over Half of Government Workforce Welcome Intelligent Technologies, but want more Technical Support and User Training, According to a Study by Government Business Council and Accenture

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. government workers are receptive to learning and using new
intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and
welcome opportunities to augment their skill sets according to a study
released today by Government Business Council (GBC),
the research division of Government
Executive Media Group
, and underwritten by Accenture Federal
Services (AFS). However, the research also found that workers believe
that agencies need to better communicate how such technologies will
affect them and additionally equip them with resources to navigate the
transition.

Based on a survey of nearly 500 U.S. federal employees representing more
than 30 civilian and defense agencies, the study explores perceptions of
intelligent technologies like AI and their potential impact on the
federal workforce.

“The Federal workforce knows the potential benefits of AI and that
intelligent technologies are coming — but what workers don’t yet know is
how it will affect and amplify their work,” said Britaini Carroll, a
human capital workforce lead at Accenture Federal Services. “Because
employees play a key role in training, sustaining and interacting with
intelligent technologies, they should be engaged in every step of the
process and encouraged to continuously learn. We look forward to
co-creating solutions with our government clients to help them transform
their learning journeys and effectively incorporate AI in their
workforce transformation plans.”

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Workers recognize that AI will be important — but their agencies
    haven’t explained how.

    Half (51 percent) of respondents
    expect the number of roles requiring collaboration with intelligent
    technologies to increase slightly or significantly in the next three
    years. Further, three-quarters (74 percent) acknowledge that in the
    next three to five years, it will be somewhat, very or extremely
    important for them to develop skills to work with AI. Yet only 26
    percent said their agency has communicated the potential impact of AI
    either adequately, well or very well.
  • Workers value smart tech’s potential to reduce repetitive tasks and
    boost productivity.
    Workers identified several compelling
    potential benefits of intelligent technologies, including reduced
    repetitive tasks and administrative burdens (cited by 59 percent),
    improved productivity (53 percent) and reduced errors (46 percent).
    Interestingly, respondents were mixed on whether new technologies are
    always acquired for the benefit of employees. While half (50 percent)
    believe that their agency is committed to ensuring employee skills
    benefit from new technologies, 29 percent believe that such tools are
    introduced without an appraisal of the employees’ current
    responsibilities.
  • Workers feel confident in their ability to adapt but worry about
    lack of training.

    When thinking about how well they will
    “fit” in the government of the future, half (49 percent) of
    respondents said they are confident or very confident that their
    technical skills and abilities make them a valuable worker, and
    three-quarters (76 percent) indicated that adaptability will be an
    essential skill to have in a government of the future. However,
    61 percent said they are worried about lack of technical support
    and user training. Further, when respondents were asked what would
    motivate them to develop new skills in a future workforce, “being
    provided funding to cover training costs” was cited most often, by 55
    percent of respondents.

“AI is one of the most engaging topics we are seeing unfold in the
federal government right now,” said Daniel Thomas, research manager for
GBC and author of the study. “These findings show that there is a
significant appetite for continued education around the opportunities
that intelligent technologies like AI present to the federal employee.”

“Agencies should think big but start small in building a strategic,
sustainable and responsible enterprise AI program,” said Dominic
Delmolino, Accenture Federal Services chief technology officer.
“Furthermore, AI adoption should be pursued in the context of shifting
employees from low-value to high- value work. By using a design-led
approach when deploying new solutions, we ensure that employees are
leading the identification of where AI tasks can augment their work,
reinforce trust in the solution, build new relationships, and
ultimately, encourage the adoption of AI technologies that will help
meet rising demands.”

For the full results of the study, visit: Federal
workers ready to thrive in the age of AI

About the Research

To identify federal workers’ perceptions of intelligent technologies
like AI and the potential impact of those technologies on the federal
workforce, GBC surveyed 496 U.S. federal employees representing more
than 30 civilian and defense agencies. Slightly more than half
(52 percent) of respondents self-identified as GS/GM-13 rank or higher.
The survey was fielded to Government Executive Media Group’s database of
digital subscribers in May 2018.

About Government Business Council:

As Government
Executive Media Group
‘s research division, Government
Business Council
(GBC) is dedicated to advancing the business of
government through analysis, insight, and analytical independence. An
extension of Government Executive‘s 40 years of exemplary
editorial standards and commitment to the highest ethical values, GBC
studies influential decision makers from across government to produce
intelligence-based research and analysis.

About Accenture Federal Services

Accenture Federal Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture LLP,
is a U.S. company with offices in Arlington, Virginia. Accenture’s
federal business has served every cabinet-level department and 30 of the
largest federal organizations. Accenture Federal Services transforms
bold ideas into breakthrough outcomes for clients at defense,
intelligence, public safety, civilian and military health organizations.
Learn more at www.accenturefederal.com.

About Accenture

Accenture (NYSE:ACN) is a leading global professional services company,
providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy,
consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched
experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all
business functions — underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network
— Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help
clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their
stakeholders. With 469,000 people serving clients in more than 120
countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world
works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

Contacts

Daniel Thomas
Government Business Council
+1 202 266 7905
[email protected]

Maryjane Norris
Accenture
+1 571 414 4475
[email protected]

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