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Executives don't understand their teams' AI skills

PluralsightLearning News

Pluralsight's AI Skills Report finds 90% of executives don't completely understand their teams' AI skills and proficiencies.


Pluralsight, the technology workforce development company, today released new research titled Pluralsight AI skills report: The gap between AI investments and worker readiness. The research is based on a survey of 1,200 decision-makers and practitioners working in technology, IT, cloud, cybersecurity and related fields.

The AI skills report explores the AI landscape and its impact on talent by examining the perspectives of executives and IT practitioners.

"AI is transforming the way that business is done, but many companies are behind the curve when it comes to preparing and training their employees for AI because they don't understand the skills that are needed to deal with AI effectively," said Aaron Skonnard, CEO and co-founder of Pluralsight. "This all points to the critical need for companies to take a more active role in developing the skills of their current workforce." 

Key findings in the report include:

1. Executive investments in AI outpace employee proficiency  

The vast majority (92%) of participants say that their organization has accelerated AI initiatives in the last 12 months. However, according to the survey, 80% of executives and 72% of IT practitioners agree that their organizations often invest in new technology without considering the training employees need to use it. Furthermore, 90% of surveyed executives admitted that they don't completely understand their teams' AI skill level and proficiency.

These findings point to the need for organizations to identify where to focus their skills development programs and which resources they need to maximize investments in new technologies. Businesses also need to proactively assess the technical fluency of their workforce to identify the critical skills that their team members need to develop.  

2. The need to build AI literacy across organizations  

The findings reveal that the AI skills gap doesn't only apply to advanced technical skills. More than half of IT practitioners (53%) think they're at least somewhat at risk of being replaced by AI. Leaders need to assuage these fears and build AI literacy across their organizations to close skills gaps at all levels.  

Nearly three in four IT practitioners worry that the skills they use in their daily roles will become obsolete quickly because of AI. These concerns appear to be warranted as 35% of executives say they are investing in AI technology and tools to eliminate unnecessary positions. 

IT professionals know they'll need to learn AI skills to secure their careers as nearly all of them (96%) indicated that staying up to date with AI skills is the best way to ensure their job security in a competitive market. To remain relevant, IT practitioners are looking for ways to practice new AI skills in their roles, but they must be given the chance to develop those skills.  

3. Establishing effective AI upskilling programs remains a challenge   

Although 81% of technologists said they are confident about integrating AI into their roles, only 12% of those same technologists feel they have significant experience working with AI. This finding is particularly noteworthy when combined with the fact that an overwhelming majority of executives (95%) and IT professionals (94%) agree that AI initiatives will fail in the absence of skilled teams that can effectively use and work with these tools. 

The report also revealed that organizations often encounter barriers that prevent them from implementing successful AI upskilling programs. The most common challenges they face are finding the right training (42%), ensuring the training is the right fit for the AI tool (49%), and procuring a budget (48%). The findings also point to the importance of tracking the success of AI upskilling and building a culture of continuous learning by measuring the impact upskilling has on skill improvement and ROI. 

Pluralsight has more than 500 AI, machine learning, and data science courses available on our platform including the latest on generative AI. To upskill in AI, visit our AI skills page. For full insights, download Pluralsight's AI skills report