Press Release

Gen Z and Millennials fear AI, 61% say it will steal jobs

Thu 17 Aug 2023

In the first UK survey of its kind, strategic skills provider Corndel revealed the extent to which employees fear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will steal all or part of their jobs, with younger workers particularly worried.

61% of them believe that this new technology will take at least 25% of their role by 2023, with 38% of the 18-34 year-olds fearing that AI will take at least 50% of their job in the next ten years.

39% of the UK employees believe that it will impact them in the same way, yet 82% of employees have had no AI training. This number rises to 96% of those over 55-years-old, reflecting a neglect of data skills in the UK that are highlighted in a new report, which is also published by Corndel today.

The new research published in the Better Decisions, Realised Report by Corndel reveals more than nine out of ten (92%) of employees who work with data tasks believe there is a data skills gap in their organisation, with almost one-third (32%) of data professionals reporting a large data skills gap in their organisation.

James Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Corndel, said: “Our research shows that many UK organisations are struggling to embed the data skills needed to fuel growth and drive performance. Nearly a third of employees who work with data say they aren’t confident in understanding, analysing and drawing insights from data, which is a major concern in today’s business environment. Concerningly, 82% of employees have not had training in data, tech or any AI-based tools. This proportion rises to 96% for older workers over 55,  which is a red flag for productivity and labour market participation.”

Corndel’s Better Decisions, Realised Report uncovered how four in ten employees  (44%) believe lack of time allocated for learning and skills development is a major challenge in keeping up with evolving data skills and knowledge in their organisation. This figure rises to 55% of employees in larger organisations with 1,000+ employees. A wide range of other issues are also identified as challenges to maintaining up-to-date data skills and knowledge in their organisation, including insufficient support or budget from the organisation (33%), limited access to relevant and up-to-date training resources (32%), and difficulty in identifying the most relevant skills to focus on (30%).

“Younger employees are already acknowledging the risks of being left behind by technology, which is shown in the large number of 18-34 year-olds who think their jobs are at risk from AI. Only by implementing continuous skills development programmes to support lifetime learning among employees, as well as investing in technology and data infrastructure, can organisations empower their employees to leverage tech and data knowledgeably, confidently and effectively, to fuel transformative change and drive successful performance,” added Kelly.

For its report, Corndel surveyed 300 senior data leaders and 1,500 employees who work with data tasks, with over a third (35%) of data professionals believing that the biggest impact of the data skills gap in their organisation is reduced efficiency and productivity. Almost half of senior decision-makers in data roles believe that a lack of data skills is holding back their organisation’s business transformation, with 37% identifying data literacy as a significant barrier to economic success.

Professionals who work with data also pinpointed an increased risk of errors and misinterpretation at work (32%), higher levels of stress among employees (29%), missed growth opportunities for their organisation (29%) and limited problem-solving capabilities (28%) as other key risks and threats to their organisation as a result of the data skills gap.

The report highlights the key role workplace training and development has to play in ensuring the data skills gap is closed and organisations can make data-driven decisions to drive growth and competitiveness.

David Brown, Director of Executive Education at Imperial College Business School, said: “This report is a powerful asset – helpful, concise, and spot on. It highlights the perennial paradoxes we face: first, an acute need for more digital capabilities, hindered by an unwillingness or inability for individuals and companies to invest for several good (and mostly not good) reasons. And second, it highlights the need to blend hard and soft skills in the workplace. In today’s fast-paced world, delaying decisions has significant consequences, perhaps sooner than we think. Conversely, the ROI on capability development is much faster, tangible, and easier to prove.”

The research found that over half of those working in data roles (53%) believe ‘on the job’ workplace training and experience is the best solution to eliminating the data skills gap, while four in ten said access to online training (43%) and more access to data analysis tools and software (39%) would best solve the issue.

Research by McKinsey Global Institute found that data-driven businesses are 20-plus times more likely to acquire new customers and six times more likely to retain them, highlighting the significant impact of data-driven leadership on an organisation’s success in the UK market, yet many organisations are struggling to make headway.

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