Future of Work News

India Re-skills Workforce for AI Age


A new Microsoft survey indicates half of India's workforce will possess AI skills within the next six to 10 years. Microsoft surveyed employees and leaders of large enterprises across a number of industry verticals in India as well as 19 other countries.

In India, more than 93 percent of senior executives queried believed their organization was gaining value from AI. And organizations that deployed AI technology along with skilling initiatives are generating the most value from the technology, according to the research.

All AI-focused companies in India said they are working to actively build the skills of their employees, or at least have a plan in place to do so. And 98 percent of those businesses are investing in skills training.

“We’re seeing a virtuous circle emerge among the companies seeing the greatest value from AI," said Dr. Rohini Srivathsa, national technology officer at Microsoft India. "These leaders have seen that having the right skills enables them to unlock value from AI, which encourages them to extend their use of AI and, in turn, continue in up-leveling skills in their organization.”

According to Srivathsa, the key to unlocking the full potential of AI is to combine deployment with training initiatives that focus on tech as well as soft skills. And while 85 percent of Indian employees queried were enthusiastic about being re-skilled in AI, only 38 percent of the global workers surveyed were interested.

That disparity means India may have a massive head start in the AI economy, while other countries may be held back by workers reluctant to give up their existing skillsets.

"As we look to rebound and reimagine the future after months of economic fluidity, technology will play a key role in rebooting enterprises," said Srivathsa. "AI is at the heart of digital transformation – which has accelerated at an extraordinary pace – and will continue to play a critical role in helping businesses be more agile, resilient and competitive during this time. However, the path of unlocking the full potential of AI lies in combining its deployment with skilling initiatives that focus on both tech and soft skills. We believe this will be important for us to emerge from this crisis successfully.”

Microsoft's research was conducted in tandem with KRC Research. In addition to India, businesses and workers from Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (combined), Hungary, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the USA, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden were included in the study.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Future of Work Contributor

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