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What's Certain in AI's Future? The Steadily Growing AI Skills Gap




Not a day goes by without some new exciting AI development: new LLMs, new unexpected uses of existing models. You name it. We’re not sure where the tech will be in the next five years - we don’t even know where it will be next month. Yet, what is clear is that we are facing a glaring issue that won’t go away anytime soon – the AI skills gap.


McKinsey recently published a survey that throws a spotlight on a stark reality: there's a shortage of skilled professionals ready to take on AI projects. Think data scientists, machine-learning engineers – the whole caboodle. Despite the tech sector's recent rollercoaster ride, the hunger for these skills hasn't waned. In fact, it has grown tremendously and will continue to do so in foreseeable future.


Now, let's pivot to diversity – or the lack thereof. Sadly, unsurprisingly, in AI roles, women and minorities account for a mere 27%. This isn't just a number; it's a clarion call for inclusivity in upskilling programs. Diverse perspectives are the bedrock of innovation, especially in AI development. So, it's not just about filling seats; it's about enriching the field. Bear with me here: we need to upskill folks fast, but we also need to make sure that our upskilling efforts are accessible and inclusive.


But hold on, there's another wrinkle here. The AI game is constantly changing. What was relevant yesterday might be passé tomorrow. This means that learning AI skills is not a one-and-done deal. It's an ongoing journey. Companies need to foster a culture of continuous learning, ensuring their workforce stays in lockstep with AI's evolution.


Yet, despite a marked eagerness among employees to learn AI skills, workplace learning programs are dragging their feet. This isn't just a gap; it's a chasm. The L&D programs at most companies are not ready for the AI age, they are stuck in a watch-video-and-watch-another-tutorial mindset. Instead, what we need is an AI-first approach with integrated LLMs so that learners can practice directly what they have learned, and a gamified approach to nudge users to keep learning.


A staggering 39% of employees might bolt for better learning opportunities based on a recent report from EdX. What does this tell companies? It's time to double down on comprehensive, AI-native training that's focused on real-world outcomes.


We see AI upskilling as a huge opportunity. By embracing education, training, and forward-thinking policies, companies and governments can turn this challenge into a springboard for innovation. This isn't just about keeping up; it's about shaping the future. The AI skills gap might not go away soon, but we can help close it in a meaningful, equitable way.


Cover image crafted using Midjourney. Want to see how it was made? Check out the creative prompt used: "Image featuring diverse professionals (varied ethnicities and genders) engaging with advanced AI technology, such as computers and digital interfaces. The setting should be a modern, collaborative workspace. Use bright, contrasting colors and ensure the image conveys a theme of learning and technological innovation. Hyperrealistic. Hyperdetailed. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera”


Disclaimer: This blog post was authored by a human, but research and editing assistance was provided by artificial intelligence.


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