Artificial IntelligenceNew Pearson research shows Generative AI could help US workers save 78 million hours a week by 2026

New research from Pearson (FTSE: PSON.L), the world’s leading learning company, shows the massive potential of Generative AI to boost workplace productivity by helping US workers to save 78 million hours a week on the routine and repetitive tasks that often fill their day and lead to burnout.

The latest installment of Pearson’s Skills Outlook series, ‘Reclaim the Clock: How Generative AI Can Power People at Work’ – looks ahead to 2026 and identifies the top 10 job tasks with the most time saved by using the technology, in five countries (AustraliaBrazilIndia, UK and US).

Pearson’s workforce planning platform, powered by generative AI, finds that the work Gen AI can most effectively support is focused on tasks related to maintaining records, data collection, or researching and compiling information for others.

The ten work tasks with most hours saved by Gen AI by 2026 in the US are:

  1. Maintain health or medical records (3,568,000 hrs per week)
  2. Maintain current knowledge in area of expertise (3,132,000 hrs)
  3. Develop educational programs, plans or procedures (2,946,000 hrs)
  4. Maintain operational records (2,032,000 hrs)
  5. Present research or technical information (1,782,000 hrs)
  6. Develop safety standards, policies, or procedures (1,696,000 hrs)
  7. Assess student capabilities, needs, or performance (1,663,000 hrs)
  8. Prepare legal or regulatory documents (1,638,000 hrs)
  9. Collect data about consumer needs or opinions (1,607,000 hrs)
  10. Prepare informational or instructional materials (1,585,000 hrs)

By augmenting basic tasks with generative AI, companies and their workers can reallocate time to focus on the high value work that humans do best: strategic thinking, collaboration, caring for others, decision making, innovation, problem solving, empathy, leadership.

At an individual level, even small amounts of time saved with generative AI can help people feel more in control of their job and achieve a better work life balance.

Oliver Latham, VP of Strategy and Growth for Pearson Workforce Skills, said:

“In nearly every workplace, people spend their day on common, time-consuming tasks that eat away at productivity or their work-life balance. If those tasks could be augmented with generative AI, employers and their workers could reallocate time to the things that needs a more human touch and mean more to their customers. Employers should consider how to incorporate this new technology into their teams, and redesign roles to free people up to focus on more valuable, human tasks. They should also consider the need for training and support for employees, so they can use it effectively and responsibly.”

At Pearson we believe that the future of work can be one where people and Gen AI can collaborate by using AI as a tool to enhance human potential. For this study, Pearson used census and other workforce datasets to create a single view of the current workforce in the US, UK, AustraliaIndia and Brazil. Using Pearson’s proprietary occupations ontology of 5,600 jobs and 76,000 tasks, each job can be viewed as a collection of tasks. This allows our machine learning algorithms to calculate future technology impact at a task level.

Pearson looked at hours currently spent, countrywide, in the US on work tasks each week, and then calculated what this would be in three years’ time as Gen AI technology is adopted into the workplace. We then identified the tasks which would have the greatest hours reduced by the technology (specifically LLM Chatbots and AI Text-to-Visual Media Generators).


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