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Most employees require new skills for generative AI, says survey

Written by Wed 25 Oct 2023

Over half (63%) of  business and IT leaders said employees will need new skills to work with generative artificial intelligence (AI), according to a global survey by Avanade.

The Avanade AI Readiness Report found 41% of CEOs countered this opinion. They believed employees will need fewer skills, as their AI copilot will assume a larger portion of their work tasks.

Avenade said most employees expect AI tools to help them with work efficiency and innovation. Yet, the company found employers did not have the correct mix of skilled AI talent to achieve this goal.

Nearly half (49%) of employees lacked full confidence in their organisation’s risk management processes for enterprise-wide integration of generative AI.

“Generative AI tools will…  enable organisations to lead in their sectors and act on new ideas in ways never imagined before. However, it will be key for leaders to highlight and enable its benefits from the start,” said Jillian Moore, Global Advisory Lead at Avanade.

Under half of organisations (48%) have established guidelines for responsible AI. This figure is lower than the 52% reported by business and IT leaders when asked the same question in March 2023.

Avanade recommended organisations invest in upskilling, reskilling and continuing education for employees to manage AI projects successfully.

“Not only do businesses need to take action to ready their people with the essential skills needed to utilise AI effectively, but now is the time for leaders to prepare for an AI-first future by crafting well-defined and responsible strategies,” said Florin Rotar, Chief AI Officer at Avanade.

Investment Priorities for AI

Avenade found that investments are not evenly prioritised across industries, despite the increasing trend of organisations boosting their digital investments to expedite their AI journey. This disparity existed despite data being the bedrock of AI to produce accurate, useful results. 

Nonprofits, utilities companies, and government agencies ranked data and analytics platforms as one of their lowest investment priorities in 2024. Meanwhile, banks, retailers, and energy companies have identified data platforms as their top investment priority.

IT employees are placing the highest emphasis on their data and analytics platform. These platforms serve as a centralised digital hub for their data and analytics.

AI Optimism

Most employees were found to be optimistic about the potential of AI.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of individuals across various industries believe AI will preserve or grow the number of human jobs within their organisation by 2024. Most respondents believe headcount will increase within organisations by up to 9%.

Employees at various job levels have a favorable outlook on AI and anticipate it playing a supportive role alongside them. AI is projected to contribute beyond just enhancing efficiency by the end of 2024, with employees envisioning it sparking creative ideas and fostering innovation. However, less than half (48%) of employees completely trust its results and may struggle to derive value from AI.

Almost all employees (96%) are confident their organisations and IT teams have the knowledge and resources to scale AI. But just over half (52%) said their organisation has complete human capital and workforce planning processes in place to safeguard headcount as generative AI is scaled.

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Written by Wed 25 Oct 2023

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