Learning & Development Asia 2024
Top 3 areas where next-generation leaders see AI becoming important

Top 3 areas where next-generation leaders see AI becoming important

These areas involve upskilling the digital capabilities of the workforce, adopting new technologies, and achieving growth.

Family-owned businesses in Asia Pacific (APAC) are gearing up to transition leadership to the next generation, in a time where technology is driving transformation.

With technological advancements such as generative AI (Gen AI) poised to drive a new era of innovation, family-run ventures in the region must be open to embracing this disruptive, emerging technology. The responsibility for this transformation rests with the next generation of family business leaders, aged between 18 and their early 40s, a new survey by PwC has found.

The APAC edition surveyed 310 next-generation leaders across 13 territories to understand their perspectives and actions on the key issues facing their family businesses.

According to the results of the survey, 73% view GenAI as a powerful force for transformation, but many are sceptical about the ability of their family business to seize this opportunity.

However, almost 70% in the region (versus 66% globally) find it challenging to keep up with AI's rapid growth.

The respondents have also identified employee productivity (48%), improved operational efficiencies (38%), and cost savings (36%) as the primary benefits of AI, mirroring the views of their global peers, and indicating that today's business heirs recognise and appreciate the tangible opportunities offered by digital transformation.

These future family business leaders see AI making significant contributions in three key areas:

  1. Notably, 44% believe AI's greatest potential is in digitally upskilling their workforce, a higher percentage than their global peers. 
  2. Additionally, 38% view AI as a catalyst for technology adoption
  3. 37% see that AI is as a crucial enabler of business growth. Globally, AI is primarily valued for driving the adoption of tech-powered solutions.

To that effect, they believe integrating AI can be a gamechanger, helping workers future-proof their skills and adding value. This can strengthen family businesses for generational handovers, though much progress is still needed.

The survey also revealed some other findings such as the following: 

  • A significant majority of the next-generation leaders in APAC have expressed a personal interest in GenAI, however, there is a wide gap between interest and expertise
  • Family businesses in the region have yet to explore the use of GenAI.
  • Next-generation leaders feel they can personally make the most difference in professionalising and modernising management practices
  • Respondents also believe there are clearly defined roles and responsibilities in their family enterprise
  • APAC family businesses have established protocols on the responsible use of emerging technologies like AI

READ MORE: What the Gen Z workforce really seeks in a "dream job" today 


Lead image / 123RF

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