AI literacy gap extends beyond technical skills

Even as organizations accelerate AI adoption, the majority don’t understand the AI skills their employees possess, if any, or have an upskilling strategy to develop them, according to Pluralsight.

employees AI skills

“AI is transforming the way that business is done, but many companies are behind the curve when it comes to preparing and training their employees for AI because they don’t understand the skills that are needed to deal with AI effectively,” said Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight. “This all points to the critical need for companies to take a more active role in developing the skills of their current workforce.”

Executive AI investments exceed employee proficiency

92% of participants say that their organization has accelerated AI initiatives in the last 12 months. However, according to the survey, 80% of executives and 72% of IT practitioners agree that their organizations often invest in new technology without considering the training employees need to use it. Furthermore, 90% of surveyed executives admitted that they don’t completely understand their teams’ AI skill level and proficiency.

These findings point to the need for organizations to identify where to focus their skills development programs and which resources they need to maximize investments in new technologies. Businesses also need to proactively assess the technical fluency of their workforce to identify the critical skills that their team members need to develop.

Out of the organizations that implemented AI technologies, 97% reported benefits such as enhanced productivity and efficiency, improved customer service, and reduced human error.

Building AI literacy across organizations

The findings reveal that the AI skills gap doesn’t only apply to advanced technical skills. 53% of IT practitioners think they’re at least somewhat at risk of being replaced by AI. Leaders need to assuage these fears and build AI literacy across their organizations to close skills gaps at all levels.

Nearly three in four IT practitioners worry that the skills they use in their daily roles will become obsolete quickly because of AI. These concerns appear to be warranted as 35% of executives say they are investing in AI technology and tools to eliminate unnecessary positions.

IT professionals know they’ll need to learn AI skills to secure their careers as 96% of them indicated that staying up to date with AI skills is the best way to ensure their job security in a competitive market. To remain relevant, IT practitioners are looking for ways to practice new AI skills in their roles, but they must be given the chance to develop those skills.

Establishing effective AI upskilling is still challenging

Although 81% of technologists said they are confident about integrating AI into their roles, only 12% of those same technologists feel they have significant experience working with AI. This finding is particularly noteworthy when combined with the fact that 95% of executives and 94% of IT professionals agree that AI initiatives will fail in the absence of skilled teams that can effectively use and work with these tools.

The report also revealed that organizations often encounter barriers that prevent them from implementing successful AI upskilling programs. The most common challenges they face are finding the right training (42%), ensuring the training is the right fit for the AI tool (49%), and procuring a budget (48%).

The findings also point to the importance of tracking the success of AI upskilling and building a culture of continuous learning by measuring the impact upskilling has on skill improvement and ROI.

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