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Study reveals pressing need for AI reskilling in the workforce

The news: A study from IBM reveals the urgent necessity for AI reskilling in the workforce.

Why this matters: The “Augmented work for an automated, AI-driven world” study reveals that AI won’t necessarily replace workers, but workers who use AI will likely replace those who don’t.

  • IBM conducted two studies, one with 3,000 C-suite executives across 20 industries and 28 countries, and the other with 21,000 workers in 22 countries.
  • 46% of executives are putting resources into equipping their workforce with the necessary skills to keep abreast of AI, per IBM.
  • Upskilling workers in specific industries might have longer-term gains than blindly adopting new technologies or hiring highly paid AI specialists.

Perceptions of the AI-augmented workplace: There's a noted divergence between employers and employees in their view of AI’s work importance.

  • While workers expect AI to unburden them from tedious tasks, executives rank this as less significant.
  • Instead, AI is seen by some managers as a tool to cut costs and streamline processes, possibly at the expense of jobs. 

A global shift: The World Economic Forum (WEF) forecast that new technologies will disrupt 85 million jobs globally between 2020 and 2025—and create 97 million new job roles. IBM attributes this to a radical shift where human capital and AI technologies boost productivity to increase business value. We’re already seeing the transformation taking place.

  • Accenture plans to double its AI-focused workforce to 80,000 through a mix of hiring, acquisitions, and training.
  • The WEF expects that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted between this year and 2028—up nine percentage points from its previous five-year projection. 
  • The sudden emergence of generative AI could push that figure even further, with IBM noting that four in five executives say the technology could fundamentally change workers’ roles and skills.

Key takeaway: While investments in AI technologies soar, most businesses will need to come to terms with aligning their expectations on the changing roles of workers. Investments in employee upskilling will help businesses be more competitive as AI disrupts the workplace.