Consulting and training company ILX Group has released new research that examines the AI skills gap many leading industries face today, the result of what it described as staff shortages, supply chain disruption, inflation, and overall uncertainty.

Findings, which are based on interviews with executives from a large cross section of global companies, revealed that a skills shift is needed in order to optimize hybrid workforces and keep up with digital advances.

Research showed that:

Hiring costs for skilled workers and managers can come to 150 per cent of their salary. Investing in current employees is a much better option.
41 per cent of organizations increased their learning and development budget in 2021, whereas nearly half, 49 per cent, plan to do so this year.
Training is seen as a key differentiator (80 per cent) in attracting top talent.

Russell Kenrick, managing director of ILX Group, said re-skilling professionals can help combat the AI skills gap, and allow room for lower-skill workers to upskill.

The skills rated most highly by organizations are management and leadership (76 per cent), big data analytics (75 per cent), cloud (74 per cent), project and program management (72 per cent), and automation (70 per cent).

According to a release issued by the firm, learning and development is key to post-pandemic success due to the fact organizations must keep up with the pace of AI adoption: “The capabilities of AI are already stretching beyond what many could have predicted. But taking advantage of the efficiencies and benefits it can offer is dependent on organizations and their workforces keeping up with the speed of advancement.”

The company added that “given the unprecedented matrix of challenges businesses face, the demand for management and leadership should come as no surprise. Dealing with the crises requires having the right vision, setting effective strategies, making the right decisions, setting the right examples, and communication of the right messages at the right time.”

According to Kenrick, the upskilling (or reskilling) debate is about the roles that are leaving vs. the roles that are needed for the future.

“The real elephant in the room is the roles that are going (due to AI today) are largely lower-skill roles. Unfair I know, but we’re seeing AI replace shop workers, waiters, receptionists, and office admin, and it’s a long journey for some of those workers to fill the skill gaps like data scientists, digital marketing experts and IT professionals. But it’s possible.

“Where it gets even scarier is when we see more AI and automation within what we call ‘professional’ roles, such as sales, customer services, and business support roles like HR, learning, finance, legal, IT Service desks, etc. It’s the reskilling of these people that will drive growth in AI roles because the workflow is more complex.”

Organizations and their workforces, the release stated, need to keep up with the speed at which AI technology is advancing, as its capabilities are “already stretching beyond what many could have predicted.”

“The reality is that artificial intelligence (AI) is at work already,” said Kenrick. “It impacts how we search, how we shop, and even how we meet people. Here at ILX, we believe that demystifying AI is key. People have always feared what they don’t understand, and this revolution is no different.

“Timing will be a factor, but in all cases, making AI accessible is key to getting the workforce of the future engaged.”

The post ILX Group examines steps firms must take to future-proof themselves first appeared on IT World Canada.

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