In the age of AI organisations need to invest in their employees

Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things, to name a few, have morphed into buzzwords. Enterprises across every industry are speculating on how the adoption, or lack thereof, of these technologies will affect their relevance in today’s digital age.

No organisation wants to go the route of Blockbuster or Kodak, and the digital arms race to integrate emerging technologies and gain a competitive edge is in full swing.

What many enterprises aren’t focusing on, but should be, is how these technologies will affect their current workforce. While technological advances are creating new jobs, they will soon be eliminating others altogether. The technology job landscape in the U.S. is already tricky at best, and it’s about to become a lot more complicated.

>See also: Managing the artificial intelligence pivot

Currently, there are more than 627,000 unfilled tech occupations in the US and digital careers are showing large margins of projected growth. Mobile application developer, for example, was ranked the ‘Best Job in America’ in 2017 and boasts a 19% projected career growth over the next ten years.

However, the technology industry in the U.S. is still struggling with a shortage of qualified job applicants, a trend that plagued the US for years and driven up the cost of acquiring top talent.

The unemployment rate among the technology industry was just 2.5%, which is below the national average of 4.5%, in Q1 2017 and the low unemployment rate, coupled with the large quantity of unfilled jobs, is problematic for employers.

Then, you add AI into the mix and an already concerning technology job landscape gets more complicated. Gartner estimates that by 2020, AI will automate 1.8 million people out of work – but it will also create 2.3 million jobs.

AI will essentially drive a net gain of 500,000 new jobs in the next two years. Microsoft’s AI has already taught itself how to write code by looting other software and computers can process information at speeds and quantities which humans cannot. So how should organisations handle the impending AI boom and the impact might have on its workforce?

>See also: Small businesses primed to lead the AI revolution

Exploring this is critical, especially when many organisations have already made a considerable investment in recruiting top technology talent that has the potential to be phased out over the next decade.

Organisations can, and must, continue to invest in their workforce through continued learning opportunities. AI will not eliminate more advanced technology jobs overnight, but arming employees with training opportunities to advance their skillset will safeguard an organisation’s original investment and help it navigate the AI wave as the technology is officially integrated into business practices.

Continued learning will play an even bigger role in the future of work as emerging technologies automate and eliminate jobs staffed by humans. Changes in learning environments and continued learning opportunities are vital to help individuals remain employable, and organisations profitable, in the future of the workforce.

And employees agree: 87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new job skills throughout their career to keep up with changes in the workplace, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.

A different study by Randstad US found that more than half of individuals (51%) agreed they would be happy to retrain if they were being paid the same or more than their current salary in order to upskill and avoid their job being eliminated by automation.

>See also: What really is AI? Setting the record straight 

Beginning today, organisations need to adopt an agile mindset and begin safeguarding their workforce investments by training their workforce to evolve with emerging technologies to remain relevant in the future of work.

Begin by evaluating where your business and employees are now, and where you want everything to be in two, five and ten years’ time. Compare that with the state of jobs and technology applications moving forward and implement a plan to adjust current practices to be ahead of the technology curve. Having accomplished this, you, and your workforce, will be on the right path to succeed in the workplace of the future.

 

Sourced by Pierre Dubuc, CEO of OpenClassrooms

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.