Blonde woman with wonder and curiosity - generative ai

By Jina Melnyk, Managing Director of Custom Solutions, Corndel

The conversation about how artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models (LLM) such as ChatGPT will radically change our workplaces has seldom been far from the headlines in recent months. There is little doubt that AI is set to engineer huge shifts in the way that many of us work and there is a lot of fear around the topic.

But fear typically comes hand in hand with change. At Corndel we believe that preparedness is key to ensuring that this change is a positive force, a force for innovation and for better business performance. By putting in place data, digital and technology skills development programmes that support lifetime learning among employees, as well as investing in and embracing these new technologies, business managers and leaders can empower their workforce to leverage tech and data knowledgeably, confidently and effectively.

In our recent Better Decisions, Realised Report we asked 2,000 adults in the first UK survey of its kind about if they believe any aspect of their role could potentially be replaced by AI in the future. We found that 61% of employees have concerns that this new technology will take at least 25% of their role by 2023, with 39% of UK employees believing that it will take at least 50% of their job in the next ten years. Despite this, very few employees have had any training in AI, with women set to be hardest hit by this lack of expertise. 85% of women reported that they had not received any training, compared with 80% of men. Only 23% of women said they had the necessary skills to stop AI taking their job, compared with 30% of men.

upskilling employees to be able to harness the potential of data and new technologies shouldn’t be ignored or put on the back-burner any longer.

We also surveyed 300 senior data leaders and 1,500 employees who specifically work with data tasks, and nine out of ten (92%) of employees who work with data tasks believe there is a data skills gap in their organisation, with almost one-third (32%) of data professionals reporting a large data skills gap in their organisation.

Organisations need to be doing much more to support their staff upskill in key data and technology skills so that their people feel confident in managing data and new technologies and can use it effectively to boost performance. Clearly, more also needs to be done to ensure women are empowered to access and participate in training and upskilling in data and AI skills.

Over a third (35%) of data professionals we polled said that the biggest impact of the data skills gap in their organisation is reduced efficiency and productivity, and at a senior level almost half of decision-makers in data roles believe that a lack of data skills is holding back their organisation’s business transformation, with 37% identifying data literacy as a significant barrier to economic success.

With so much at stake, upskilling employees to be able to harness the potential of data and new technologies shouldn’t be ignored or put on the back-burner any longer. A previous study by McKinsey Global Institute found that data-driven businesses are 20-plus times more likely to acquire new customers and six times more likely to retain them. Compelling statistics indeed!

Our report highlights the key role workplace training and development has to play in ensuring the data skills gap is closed, for both data professionals and for the wider workforce. Currently, four in ten employees (44%) say that the lack of time allocated for learning and skills development is a major challenge in keeping up with evolving data skills and knowledge in their organisation, and this figure rises to 55% of employees in larger organisations with 1,000+ employees. A wide range of other issues were also identified as challenges to keeping their data skills and knowledge up-to-date, including insufficient support or budget from the organisation (33%), limited access to relevant and up-to-date training resources (32%), and difficulty in identifying the most relevant skills to focus on (30%).

The research found that over half of those working in data roles (53%) believe ‘on the job’ workplace training and experience is the best solution to eliminating the data skills gap, while four in ten said access to online training (43%) and more access to data analysis tools and software (39%) would best solve the issue.

The report findings show that many UK organisations are struggling to embed the data skills needed to make better decisions, fuel growth, and ultimately drive performance and competitiveness. Investing in tailored training solutions for your individual organisation’s and staff’s needs, and being open to continuous development for employees so they can maintain their data skills as technology evolves, can be a game changer for both business performance and for creating a thriving workplace culture with skilled, confident employees.

To view the full report visit Corndel.com.