AI and intelligent automation are rapidly changing the face of our workforce. Over the next three years, as many as 120 million workers may need to be retrained or re-skilled as a result of AI, according to a new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study.
In addition, only 41 percent of CEOs surveyed say that they have the people, skills and resources required to execute their business strategies according to the study, which includes input from more than 5,000 global executives in 48 countries.
It takes time to close a skills gap, although training has increased by more than 10 times, according to the research. For example, in 2014 it took three days on average—in 2018, it took 36 days. And while new skills requirements are rapidly emerging, other skills are becoming obsolete.
“Organizations are facing mounting concerns over the widening skills gap and tightened labor markets,” said Amy Wright, managing partner, IBM Talent & Transformation. “Yet while executives recognize the severity of the problem, half of those surveyed admit that they do not have any skills development strategies in place to address their largest gaps.”
Wright says new strategies are emerging to help companies re-skill their people and build a culture of continuous learning that’s required to succeed in the era of AI.
In 2016, executives ranked technical core capabilities for STEM, basic computer and software/application skills, as the top two most critical skills for employees. In 2018, the top two skills sought were behavioral skills—willingness to be flexible, agile, and adaptable to change–as well as time management skills and the ability to prioritize.
In contrast, ethics and integrity was the skill named most critical in a survey of consumers in U.S. cities including Atlanta, Austin, Baton Rouge, Boston, Chicago, Raleigh, and San Francisco, according to an IBM poll conducted by Morning Consult.
The recommendation to closing the skills gap focuses on re-skilling our workforce through development that’s personalized to the individual and built on data. This means creating educational journeys for employees that are personalized to their current experience level, skills, job role and career aspirations.
To fuel those journeys, companies should take advantage of partners to expand their access to content, leverage innovative learning technologies, and even share skilled talent across organizational boundaries.
For example, the IBM Garage helps companies digitally reinvent, while creating cultures of open collaboration and continuous learning. In environments designed to be a break from the everyday, traditional silos and barriers are eliminated — employees are encouraged to learn by doing, fail fast and iterate often, inspiring organizational change and buy-in.
True culture change is now driven by new skills and expertise in business created by the advent of intelligent workflows demanding new ways of working in every industry. Business leaders must create dynamic and flexible organizations and teams to enable the ongoing reinvention of work and skills.
To underscore the critical role human resources plays in this journey, IBM is collaborating with the Josh Bersin Academy, the world’s first global development academy for human resources and talent professionals looking to create new strategic agendas in business. The Academy will soon launch its newest program, HR in the Age of AI, which was created with input from IBM subject matter experts. The program focuses on how HR teams can use AI to transform the way they work. According to Josh Bersin, global independent analyst and founder of the Josh Bersin Academy, “AI is hands down the biggest challenge facing HR leaders today.”