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AI Skills Gap Shows Workers Not Ready for the AI Revolution

AI Skills Gap Shows Workers Not Ready for the AI Revolution

New research from Salesforce indicates that while workers are optimistic about how generative artificial intelligence (AI) will transform their work in a positive way, there is currently a major AI skills gap when it comes to leveraging the technology effectively.

Research Shows Optimism About Generative AI But a Major Skills Gap

The study, which surveyed over 4,000 full-time desk workers in the US, UK, and Australia, found that 54% believe generative AI will advance their career. A majority (62%) say it will require new skills, and 56% believe it will transform their role altogether.

Workers are particularly enthusiastic about how generative AI, which can generate new content, code, images and more, will allow them to focus on more strategic initiatives. 65% think AI technology will enable them to spend more time on higher-value work. On average, respondents believe generative AI will save them five hours per week, equivalent to one month per year for full-time staff.

However, despite the optimism, most workers readily admit they do not currently have the know-how to properly leverage generative AI. 40% say they don’t know how to use generative AI effectively at work. 43% lack skills in keeping data secure while using AI tech. And 53% don’t know how to get the most value from it. Overall, 62% say they lack the skills to use generative AI in a safe and effective manner.

Workers Want AI Training but Aren’t Getting It from Employers 

The survey indicated a mismatch between workers wanting training in AI skills from their employers versus companies providing it. 67% of employees expect their employer to provide opportunities to learn generative AI. But 66% say they have not been offered any training in the technology by their company.

While workers are eager to skill up in generative AI, employers seem to be lagging. 70% of business leaders acknowledge their teams lack the expertise to use AI technology safely and effectively.

Companies Need to Invest in Upskilling to Harness Generative AI’s Potential

According to Salesforce, businesses have a clear incentive to close the generative AI skills gap amongst their workers. 82% of business leaders believe AI technology will lower costs. 80% say it will boost revenue.

By upskilling their workforce, companies can be in a better position to harness the promise of generative AI, which includes increased efficiency, heightened productivity, improved customer experiences, and innovations in products and services. Workers who know how to properly use AI can help drive these potential benefits.

Free Resources Can Help Workers Skill Up for the AI Era

Salesforce points to its online learning platform, Trailhead, as one way for workers to gain AI expertise. Trailhead offers free courses for beginner and experienced tech workers in topics like AI ethics, AI applications, machine learning, and leveraging AI safely.

Learners can track progress, earn skills badges, get support from mentors, and join a community of AI-focused professionals looking to advance their career. By providing accessible, ongoing AI education, companies can empower their people with the skills needed to thrive in the age of artificial intelligence.

Looking Ahead to an AI-Powered Future

As generative AI continues rapidly advancing, companies have a unique window of opportunity to skill up their workforces and lead the charge into our AI-enabled future.

By taking proactive steps like implementing robust training programs, they can empower employees to work efficiently and creatively alongside AI. Workers who can properly and safely harness generative AI’s capabilities can drive tangible improvements in business operations and customer experiences.

While AI presents some risks like biased outputs, with the right expertise, checks and balances, humans remain in the driver’s seat. AI-powered businesses create the potential for employees to focus less on repetitive tasks and more on imagination, strategy and meaning.

For workers and employers equally committed to continuous learning, the promise of generative AI taking on time-consuming work may soon become a reality. But it will require investing in people first through accessible, ethical, and forward-looking training opportunities.