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CEOs Targeting Generative AI to Reduce Workforce in 2024

As workforce challenges continue to confound healthcare organizations, nearly one in five CEOs anticipate utilizing generative AI this year to cut down on staff, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

However, PwC’s annual global survey, which interviewed 4,702 CEOs across the world, found that healthcare leaders are less likely to turn to generative AI than those in most other industries. The findings underscore AI’s growing presence in businesses, but also healthcare’s tepid willingness to fully invest in the technology right now.

When asked to what extent generative AI will impact headcount in your company in the next 12 months, 18% of healthcare CEOs said they expect to reduce headcount by 5% or more. Healthcare was tied with two other industries (hospitality and leisure, real estate) for the third-lowest among 23 industries. The only industries that finished lower were engineering and construction (12%), technology (14%), and metals and mining (14%).

The global average among all CEOs who were asked that question was 25%, with media and entertainment at the top with 32%, followed by banking and capital markets (28%) and insurance (28%).

“As business leaders are becoming less concerned about macroeconomic challenges, they are becoming more focused on disruptive forces within their industries,” Bob Moritz, global chair at PwC, said in a news release. “Despite rising optimism about the global economy, they are actually less optimistic than last year about their own revenue prospects, and more acutely aware of the need for fundamental reinvention of their business. Whether it is accelerating the roll-out of generative AI or building their business to address the challenges and opportunities of the climate transition, this is a year of transformation.”

While AI has untapped potential, many healthcare leaders are being careful before investing and implantation because the technology requires more than a surface-level understanding to employ it safely and effectively.

Arien Meyers, president and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado School of Public Health, and a strategy advisor to MI10, recently told HealthLeaders that many hospitals haven’t met AI readiness standards yet.

“Our understanding and intelligence is that most hospitals don’t even know how to start,” Meyers said. “And many don’t know where they are now” on AI maturity.

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 

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