The AI Talent Shortage

Neha Uddin
The AI Talent Gap

AI and automation are boosting business productivity and improving our lives. The rapid adoption of AI and tech has, consequently, led to an AI talent gap. But the technology’s widespread adoption is causing concerns about the displacement of several jobs.

While these concerns are valid, it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a scarcity of jobs. The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts Artificial Intelligence will create more jobs by 2022 than it eliminates. While 75 million jobs are likely to be eliminated, 133 million new ones will, in fact, be created. 

On one hand, job loss is a concern. On the other, the shortage of AI talent is simultaneously stunting the ability of countries and organizations around the world looking to embrace transformation led by AI.      

Combined, these concerns point to a rising need to invest time and resources in educating and (re)training the workforce. 

In fact, according to a recent IBM report, 120 million people around the world will need retraining. This includes 11.5 million in the US. The current workforce will also need re-skilling in the coming years as a result of AI and intelligent automation. 

This is because nearly two-thirds of today’s younger generation will work in jobs that don’t exist today. 

The AI Talent Gap 

the AI talent gapAccording to the Global AI Talent Report 2020, there are 22,400 AI scholars worldwide as of 2019. The search criteria also report that 36,524 people qualified as self-reported AI specialists, as stated by a parallel study of LinkedIn profiles. 

Though there has been a 19% increase in AI specialists over last year, and up 66% in AI experts on LinkedIn, given how prevalent AI and machine learning are, the amount of AI experts remains alarmingly small. 

The bottom line is – there are just thousands of AI engineers worldwide while millions are required.

The scarcity of AI expertise is an impediment to the technology’s adoption. Recent research also reports that 56% of senior AI specialists say a shortage of new, competent AI personnel is the most difficult barrier to achieving AI application throughout business operations.

Bridging the AI Talent Gap

bridging the AI talent gapOne strategy to overcome the AI skills gap is to raise resources for digital, math, and technological education. While increasing the number of STEM and computer science students will help, it won’t solve the problem entirely.

To eliminate the AI skill gap, companies must confront the issue head-on and invest in reskilling their workforce. According to the World Economic Forum, more than half (54%) of all employees worldwide will need major reskilling by 2022. 

There will never be a one-stop solution to the problem of AI skill shortage. Businesses must exercise caution and make the best use of limited resources while investing in strategies that will deliver long-term results rather than one-time remedies.

More importantly, irrespective of the solution adopted, firms must plan long term when it comes to recruiting, employing, and overseeing the newly arriving cohort of AI talent. 

Any approach to talent development and creation that a corporation decides to adopt should always emphasize participation and sustainability.