AI, Cloud Skills Gap Is Accelerating Training, Upskilling For Firms

New research has highlighted the challenges for business in obtaining (and keeping) the necessary skills to harness artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud management.

The research from software and cloud solutions provider SoftwareOne, found that the skills shortage is increasingly impacting companies, workforce dynamics and individuals in their day-to-day work.

Indeed, the research found that cloud and AI skills gaps are accelerating retraining and upskilling efforts for 97 percent of businesses in the UK.

Last month research from accountancy firm PwC had found that sectors that were more exposed to AI (i.e. AI can be readily used for some tasks) were experiencing almost fivefold (4.8x) greater labour productivity growth.

Image credit: Tara Winstead/Pexels

Skills gap

The Cloud Skills research from SoftwareOne found that 53 percent of companies lack the necessary AI skills to utilise rapid innovation.

Indeed, the research identified the biggest pain point for companies in their digital transformation efforts is ensuring employee skills growth matches the rapid rate of innovation.

The report found that over half (53 percent) admit to currently having inadequate skills to leverage AI and 50 percent of organisations are struggling to find AI skilled employees.

The research highlighted the need to prioritise close collaboration between human workers and advanced technologies amidst a widening cloud skills gap and apprehension concerning AI.

The research found for example that 53 percent of UK companies lack the skills to harness AI and 50 percent are struggling to find AI skilled employees.

The need for these skills came as the report found that 97 percent of organisations are planning to prioritise upskilling their workforce.

Burn out, tensions

But the technologies come at a price, after the report found that the cloud skills shortage has increased the individual workloads of 62 percent of respondents, and led to significant repercussions, including burnout and high turnover rates within departments.

Notably, over a quarter of global IT managers (27 percent) are contemplating quitting due to the skills gap, while a staggering 84 percent of companies perceive IT retention issues as a significant challenge, the SoftwareOne report found.

And these retention issues are compounded by conflicts within teams, with a quarter (26 percent) of respondents saying that the cloud skills gap has caused tension between themselves and their boss.

Another 46 percent say the skills gap has caused tension within the team. 18 percent of respondents said they don’t feel comfortable asking for additional training to advance their skills.

Talent time bomb

“Rapid advancements in AI and generative AI offer exciting prospects for companies worldwide, but organisations are sitting on a ticking talent time bomb if they don’t upskill and retrain their workforces now to fulfil the potential of AI,” said Brian Duffy, CEO at SoftwareOne.

“Our research shows the overwhelming majority of organisations are planning to upskill their IT teams in order to fast-track AI adoption and accelerate the cloud journey,” said Duffy. “By putting people at the centre and showcasing how these innovations can enhance their roles rather than pose threats, organisations can cultivate a culture of empowerment and optimism that helps to increase retention, boost productivity and make work more meaningful.”

Big names firms such as Microsoft has been making a series of heavy investments in individual countries around the world, as it seeks to ramp up its data centre footprint but also increase AI and cloud skills training globally.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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