Employee AI readiness is fairly low

Enterprise employees are largely lacking in AI skills, and enterprises need to work to reskill or upskill employees to improve their skills and help reduce AI job loss fears.

Enterprises over the past few years have started to experiment with AI, slowly adopting and deploying it within different departments.

Take-up of AI technologies such as machine learning and RPA has been relatively slow for most enterprises, and employees have struggled to adopt to the new technologies and have needed upskilling or reskilling to improve their AI readiness.

AI readiness

Only 38% of workers are confident in their skill sets in the face of digital transformation and newly emerging technologies, according to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers by Computer Generated Solutions (CGS), an applications, enterprise learning and business process outsourcing company.

The survey, which focused on emerging workplace trends in the AI era, found that 24% of workers feel vulnerable but are waiting for their company to provide upskilling, while 22% feel somewhere in the middle and are attempting to keep their skills up to date through a mix of activities.

The numbers also vary across professions -- 48% of professionals seek training on their own versus 46% of people in medical roles and 21% of people in retail roles.

There's just this massive literacy effort that has to occur within organizations.
Traci GusherPrincipal of data and analytics, KPMG in the U.S.

Training includes online self-taught courses, outside courses and YouTube videos, said John Samuel, executive vice president at CGS.

Ideally, enterprises should aim at "providing not only self-learning tools, but also pointing employees to these places that are more available and are largely no cost," he said.

Meanwhile, another AI report, by KPMG, on the achievements and challenges of AI across different industries, surveyed 751 U.S. business decision-makers. KPMG reported that 43% of respondents in retail and healthcare and 49% of respondents in financial services insiders said their employees have the skills to adopt AI.

Also, around 50% of respondents said it was difficult to find new workers with AI skills.

In fact, employees just aren't trained to handle RPA and AI software, said Traci Gusher, principal of data and analytics at KPMG in the U.S.

"There's just this massive literacy effort that has to occur within organizations," she said.

AI readiness, enterprise ai
Enterprises need to upskill employees to increase their AI readiness

Reducing fears

Reskilling or upskilling employees, in addition to providing them with more useful skills, can help minimize employees' fears of losing their jobs due to AI technologies that would replace them.

Some 33% of employees fear AI can replace their jobs, according to the CGS report, while 39% of employees without college degrees fear being replaced by AI.

Those numbers are in line with the report by KPMG, which found that two in five respondents said their employees are worried about losing their jobs to AI. In the retail industry, however, about 62% of respondents said their employees are worried AI will take their job.

Yet, by having active discussions with employees, and a comprehensive plan to deploy AI within the enterprise, employers can better prepare their employees for new technologies as well as allay their fears about them, Samuel said.

After all, he said, enterprises have been slow to use AI.

"AI is going to replace your job over a long time, over many, many years," Samuel said.

But AI and RPA are nearly certain to create job shifts, Gusher noted. RPA, for example, can automate time-consuming, repetitive tasks that employees would otherwise have to do manually. With that extra time, those employees can focus on more meaningful tasks, resulting in a basic change in job functions or even a new role entirely, depending on how much their previous position depended on manually completing the now automated tasks.

"There is going to be some job loss," she said, but most people will likely shift jobs.

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