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AI and ML are the 'Biggest Business Drivers,' But Skills Gaps Remain Significant


As business processes are transformed by artificial intelligence, there is also an urgent need to advance organic intelligence to help AI reach its potential. This comes in the form of upskilling human workers so they can effectively use AI-based technologies and solutions.

Skillsoft, a company that provides blended, multimodal learning experiences, recently released the results of its 2023 IT Skills and Salary Report. Based on insights from more than 5,700 global IT professionals, including leaders and staff members, the report examines the state of the IT industry, underscoring the pressing need for workforce upskilling and reskilling given the rapid advancement of AI and machine learning (ML) technologies.

Today, AI and ML are reportedly the biggest areas of focus for IT leaders, but 43% of respondents rate their teams’ AI and ML skill sets as low, revealing a large gap between the technology and the human know-how. One in three IT leaders reported that their most pressing struggle is finding qualified AI and ML talent, and that the top driver of skills gaps is the rate of technology change outpacing training programs.

While more training may be the answer, it needs to be effective training. The study found that last year, 45% of IT professionals said management did not see a tangible benefit from training. Just 15% now say the same, as skill building becomes a business imperative. In addition, 97% of IT leaders say certified staff adds value to their organization.

Skill development is a critical piece of the puzzle for building a competitive organization, though more work is needed to optimize training among technology teams, according to the report’s authors. Only 37% of IT professionals report receiving training “most of the time” when their employers invest in new technology. Additionally, compared to last year, 40% more IT leaders say their organization is not investing enough in professional development and 80% more say their current training programs are not effective at developing the skills they need.

“With AI accelerating disruption at an unprecedented pace, the need for workforce training has never been more obvious and consequential,” said Orla Daly, Chief Information Officer for Skillsoft. “Organizations are at a critical point where they need to be deliberate and proactive about building skills and capabilities – especially related to AI – or risk falling behind in the coming year. Interactive training experiences where professionals learn by doing will unlock rich possibilities, creating business value while increasing team member engagement and morale.”

Edited by Alex Passett
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