Over 18 million people in the UK have now used Generative AI (GenAI), according to new findings from Deloitte’s 2024 Digital Consumer Trends research, based on a survey of 4,150 UK adults aged 16-75.

In the UK, three in five (60%) people are now aware of GenAI and over a third (36%) have used a GenAI tool, an increase of 26% (13 million people) from May 2023. However, notable gender and age gaps were apparent in the findings with 43% of men having used GenAI, compared to just 28% of women. The technology is also primarily used by younger groups, with 62% of people aged 16-34 having actively used it, compared to only 14% of 55-75 year olds.

GenAI in the workplace

One in seven people (14%) have used GenAI for work, equating to around seven million people, increasing from four million a year ago. Of those using GenAI for work, three in four (74%) claim a productivity boost of either ‘a fair amount’ or ‘a great deal’. However, just 27% of those in work claim that their employer encourages the use of GenAI, suggesting that the majority work may be doing so without their employer’s official endorsement.

Among those who have used GenAI for work, the most popular reasons are generating ideas (44%) and looking up information (41%), followed by creating written content (39%), writing/editing emails (38%), and summarising text (37%).

Commenting on this, Deloitte partner and head of technology, media and telecommunications research, Paul Lee, said: “Employees are moving faster than their employers when it comes to adopting GenAI to transform how they work. While workers are signalling that GenAI can boost their output and save them time, many employees may not be supported, encouraged, or explicitly endorsed to use the technology by their organisation.

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“While the most popular uses tend to be generating ideas and looking up information, these may not be optimal applications of GenAI, given known issues such as hallucination. Employers need to step up and invest in tools and governance to better support their staff in using this technology. Additionally, usage has to thrive among all types of employees, not just certain demographics, if the tools are to be most effective.”