PwC has announced plans to give its 75,000 strong workforce training in AI and use of its internal Gen AI platform ‘ChatPwC’.
The multinational professional services brand began training its workers on AI in August with courses on the ethics of AI, responsible use of the technology, and how to prompt AI tools for the best results, being available to its staff.
60% of PwC employees have started this training, but soon all the company’s 75,000 strong workforce will receive training.
The initiative is being led by Atkinson and Mohamed Kande, the company’s Consulting Solutions Co-Leader, whilst PwC’s chief people officer Yolanda Seals-Coffield is helping lead the upskilling endeavour.
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“I would much rather control the disruption, manage the disruption, and get in front of the disruption,” Atkinson told Forbes regarding the purpose of such comprehensive AI training.
The company is also utilising its own Generative AI chatbot ‘ChatPwc’, which makes OpenAI’s technology available to employees in a secure fashion internally. Roughly 100 employees have gotten access to the technology in July, but a full rollout is planned by the end of the year.
In PwC’s UK-based quarters, employees in tax, legal and HR are using this tech to review contracts, research due diligence for M&A deals or creating legal insights that are shared with clients.
Yet, Seals-Coffield said she doesn’t expect AI to replaced jobs in the company’s workforce: “We’ve said to our people we do not see generative AI as something that replaces jobs,” she says. “We see it as something that is an enabler to support the human work. There is always going to be the requirement of independent thought and skepticism and judgment in our ability to deliver our work.”
“Our commitment is not to leave anyone behind ... we’re going to give you the opportunity to futureproof your skills as the market continues to emerge.”
Job augmentation, not loss
Technology experts have been saying for months that AI will most likely augment the roles we currently carry out as opposed to replacing jobs altogether.
What’s going on in PwC is the first signs of this augmentation, meaning the company could indeed be ahead of the curve.
Despite this, PwC recently announced it would be cutting 600 jobs, as the company experienced a large number of resignations and so decided to launch a voluntary redundancy programme for 500-600 staff members.
It’s unclear if this is at all linked to the new uptake of AI-related skills, but ultimately, this upskilling is likely to make its workforce better able to use this technology, even though it is changing and advancing so rapidly.