Prepare for the looming skills gap in the AI economy

Posted on July 28, 2020
Prepare for the looming skills gap in the AI economy

For businesses in all industries, AI, digitization, and automation are opening the door to tremendous opportunities for innovation and growth – and creating new challenges and complexities for employers. Organizations in every sector are struggling to attract, recruit and retain people with the skills needed to help them succeed in a digitized, automated, AI-driven world.

“The Upskilling Imperative: Building a Future-Ready Workforce for the AI Age”

As the term “artificial intelligence” works its way into the public consciousness, not enough business leaders have come to fully realize the impact this technology will have on companies, the marketplace and even national economies.

In their white paper, titled “The Upskilling Imperative”, Deloitte makes the case for organizations to immediately plan for the change that is coming, not only to business models but to the employees who carry them out.

“It’s time for companies to embrace the upskilling imperative and build their own future-ready workforce. Now is the time for organizations to make deliberate, significant investments in learning to equip their people with the knowledge, skills and capabilities needed to work effectively in a digitized, automated world—and to build and consume AI-powered insights.”

The report looks at “how digitization, automation, and AI are rapidly disrupting industries worldwide and what that means to work and leadership; why organizations need to invest in upskilling now; and how organizations should approach upskilling for the age of AI.”

The report starts by defining and describing the AI revolution currently underway and the scale of its impact on the global economy. As with any significant innovation, the report sees major disruptions ahead but ultimately sees an increase in employment for people with AI ultimately creating more jobs than it displaces.

“It will also require managers to become not only a champion of AI but a champion, sponsor, and role model for lifelong learning—a continuous commitment to acquiring and improving one’s knowledge, skills, and competencies through formal and informal learning opportunities.”

The report notes, however, that there is a growing AI skills gap as the pace of change outstrips the development of knowledgeable people that will required to design, build and use the new technology.

“The lack of AI talent and data literacy skills is creating a significant obstacle to organizations’ efforts to adopt and capitalize on AI and related technologies.”

Remaking the workforce for an AI economy will require a major transformative effort by organizations in the way they find and train candidates. Simply recruiting university and college graduates won’t be sufficient and companies will need to invest in training and lifelong learning to reap the benefits of the AI economy.

To help organizations prepare for the AI future, Deloitte and the Schulich ExecEd have developed The Data & Analytics Fundamentals Academy, a unique educational opportunity designed to help Canadian executives and analytics practitioners in industry quickly close the knowledge gap at the operational level in an organization.

The program directors will hold a special online discussion about AI and the future of learning on Aug. 5 and Sept 10. The session will describe and explain the program, its learning objectives, and the details of each program module. It will also feature program faculty joining the webinar and provide ample opportunity for you to ask your questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

To enrol for this free online session on either date, follow this link to the event registration page.

Download a copy of COVID-19 The upskilling imperative: Building a future-ready workforce for the AI age