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Global Study Reveals Business Leaders Expect Advances in AI to Require New Skills

More than eight out of ten (81%) business leaders believe advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will require new skills and new ways of getting work done, according to new research from the World Employment Confederation, of which ManpowerGroup is a member. Yet, despite this awareness, 78% are concerned that they cannot train employees fast enough to keep pace with technology developments in the next three years.

The findings are part of “The Work We Want,” a global initiative commissioned by WEC. The first installment of this new international research, “Agile Talent in the Age of AI,” details how generative AI will radically reshape workforces, requiring new soft and technical skills to realize the potential technology offers.

“It is clear that advances in AI have the potential to transform the workplace at an unprecedented pace, yet the growing technical and soft skills gap is a critical hurdle businesses must overcome,” said Jonas Prising, Chairman & CEO of ManpowerGroup. “While Gen AI will revolutionize many aspects of work, there are elements of jobs that are, and will remain, quintessentially human: collaboration, communication, creative problem solving, and empathy towards others. Organizations must cultivate these uniquely human traits and invest in upskilling and their workforce to succeed in this new digital era.”

Key Findings:

  • 80% say it has never been so hard to plan for future talent requirements.
  • 92% of senior executives say they’ll need a more flexible workforce in the next two years.
  • Organizations will turn to a wide range of strategies to build flexibility, including setting up sectoral talent pools (91%), taking a skills-based approach to hiring (89%), using online talent platforms (89%), increase usage of contingent workers (88%), offering more internal flexibility, e.g. through inter-department secondments/job rotations (88%), and hiring talent from abroad (88%).
  • Employing contingent workers is becoming an increasingly attractive way to access hard-to-find digital skills and higher-caliber candidates with 79% of senior executives saying that employing workers with knowledge of new technology is an effective way to spread understanding to permanent employees.

“The ‘Work We Want’ is a conversation starter for governments, employers, and workers to address our new work reality and find solutions collectively to deliver better labour markets outcomes for all,” Denis Pennel, Managing Director of WEC, said. “AI has made agility non-negotiable, and the HR services industry is crucial in helping to fill the labour and skills gaps brought on by digitalization.”

Behind “The Work We Want” Initiative

  • The project is led by the World Employment Confederation, the global voice of the HR services industry.
  • The World Employment Confederation commissioned FT Longitude to conduct a survey in November and December 2023 of 715 senior executives from around the world, including 680 from Forbes Global 2000 companies and 35 public sector organizations.