UK IT professionals concerned about C-suite’s Generative AI ambitions
Mon 13 Nov 2023
A recent study conducted by O’Reilly revealed that a staggering 93% of UK IT professionals have concerns about their C-suite’s ambitions for the deployment of generative artificial intelligence (AI).
This apprehension is underscored by a perceived lack of training, understanding, and risk assessment at senior management levels.
The research, which surveyed 500 UK IT professionals, highlighted the growing gap between the digital skills currently available and the UK Government’s aspirations to establish the UK as a global leader in AI. This is a concern shared by nearly three-quarters (71%) of IT teams.
Primary worries among IT professionals about their companies’ generative AI strategies include inadequate training and understanding at the C-suite level (28%), a shortfall in conducting risk assessments (23%), and a lack of operational understanding (22%).
Additionally, there are significant doubts about organisations’ readiness to comply with evolving AI regulations. While 25% of IT professionals are not confident about their company’s compliance capabilities, 51% feel only ‘somewhat’ confident.
The O’Reilly study also sheds light on the disparity between investment in AI technology and the development of necessary workplace policies and training programmes.
Despite more than half (57%) of IT professionals reporting that their organisations have invested over £15,001 in generative AI in the past year, many employees, especially those outside IT departments, have received limited or no training regarding generative AI’s impact in the workplace.
Furthermore, 41% of IT professionals reported that their organisation does not have a clear policy on the use of generative AI technologies, with an additional 11% unsure of any existing policy.
In response to these challenges, a significant majority (82%) of IT professionals expressed interest in more learning and development opportunities related to generative AI.
A significant number of IT professionals (43%) have sought external training in the past year, and 61% are considering moving to a different company in the next 12 months if their current employer fails to provide upskilling opportunities in generative AI.
Alexia Pedersen, VP of EMEA at O’Reilly, stressed the importance of balanced investment: “Organisations should continue to invest in generative AI to remain innovative and competitive. At the same time, they must also ensure that staff are adequately trained and that robust workplace policies are in place. This is not only a strategy for improved recruitment and retention in the face of a widening skills gap, but also a necessary step to guarantee ethical and safe AI deployments if Britain wants to fulfill its global ambitions.”
The study stressed the urgent need for organisations to prioritise comprehensive training and policy development to effectively and safely harness the potential of generative AI technologies.