Article: AI will shatter the career ceiling for many

Technology

AI will shatter the career ceiling for many

Career success will no longer be predicated on the number of years we work – but on our dexterity and agility in acquiring AI skills.
AI will shatter the career ceiling for many

If you’re looking to make a major career move, specialise or enter a new field altogether, fear not.

One element of change you should never lose sight of – regardless of your next career decision – is the breadth and depth of your AI skills.

Seven in 10 employers would rather hire a less experienced candidate with AI skills than a more experienced one who lacks training in AI, according to the latest findings from Microsoft and LinkedIn.

In the companies’ 2024 Work Trend Index, such preference for AI-savvy workers is creating a demand for talent, whether in technical or non-technical roles and regardless of applicants’ career levels.

The new hiring imperative

The talent war has shifted considering how AI aptitude has become “the new hiring imperative”.

When hunting for job opportunities in the new economy, candidates will soon realise their level of success will no longer be predicated on the number of years they’ve worked, but on their dexterity and agility in acquiring AI knowledge and training – no matter what industry they’re preparing to enter.

It’s worth noting that two-thirds of employers (66%) would turn down a candidate if they lacked AI skills. Yet, other employers (77%) would be willing to give greater responsibility even to early-career joiners if they possessed the right AI competencies.

Far from limiting one’s chances of employment in the new digital economy, AI instead has the potential to democratise people’s access to new types of work should they choose to invest in their skills. This is part of the cycle of "creative destruction".

While certain forms of technology cause some old jobs to be destroyed and new ones to be created, an underlying force in this creative destruction in the job market is the ability of people to match the demand for certain skills.

And if, in recent years, experts in the space of people and work pondered about the why of work – from here on, the world will think more rigorously about the how of work, says organisational psychologist Constance Noonan Hadley.

“AI puts more power into the hands of workers in terms of the way the job gets done,” Noonan Hadley said.

Hiring versus upskilling AI talent

The irony behind these trends is that most employers assume it’s easier to buy – rather than build – the AI talent they need.

Only a few employers are opting to hone the talent pool already available within their organisations. In the US, for example, less than half of employers (45%) are “currently investing in AI tools or products for employees”. Meanwhile:

  • Only about 2 in 5 employees (39%) across the world have received AI training in their current workplace.
  • Only 1 in 4 companies plan to conduct generative AI training for their employees this year.

Failure to develop their workers’ AI competencies quickly enough would only worsen this “training deficit,” the researchers suggest.

Despite the limited range of training that workers receive from their current employers, “professionals aren’t waiting for official guidance or training –they’re skilling up,” Microsoft and LinkedIn noted.

  • More than 3 in 4 workers (76%) know AI skills will help them remain competitive in the job market.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 workers (69%) believe having AI skills can help get them promoted faster.
  • Nearly 4 in 5 workers (79%) believe AI skills will “broaden their job opportunities”.

AI is set to accelerate the evolution of skills. In fact, 68% of today’s competencies could very well change by 2030 because of AI.

This openness, or refusal, to learn AI will determine whether today's talent will remain locked in under their own career ceiling – or, with their AI skills sharpened, end up shattering it.

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Topics: Technology, Skilling, Business, #Artificial Intelligence

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