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As Employers Seek AI-Savvy Talent, Here's The Number 1 Skill You Need

As per a 2024 study, 71% of leaders prefer less experienced candidates with AI skills.
PUBLISHED JUL 1, 2024
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Hitesh Choudhary
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Hitesh Choudhary

The advent of generative AI sparked fresh concern about job losses. While workers fear being replaced by AI tools, employers are dealing with a different concern. According to the 2024 Work Trend Index by Microsoft and LinkedIn, the majority (55%) of leaders are concerned about a lack of talent to fill roles. This majorly refers to the lack of workers with AI skills. This may be why big companies have been slow to integrate tools like ChatGPT in their systems and upskill their talent pools.

Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu
Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu

Workers with AI Skills are in Demand

As per Harvard Business School professor, Karim Lakhani, AI is going to lower the cost of cognition just as the internet lowered the cost of information transmission. Lakhani suggests that leaders need to embrace the technology, and they will eventually harness its potential, and develop use cases for their businesses. 

However, the Work Trend report shows there is a dearth of talent for this.  As per the report, about 71% of corporate leaders prefer a less experienced candidate with AI skills over a more experienced candidate without them. This shows a skill gap and the extent of the opportunities that workers with AI skills have.



 

Furthermore, 79% of executives expressed that their company should adopt AI to stay competitive, but the pressure to generate immediate returns on investment has slowed the AI transition. This may be why companies are falling behind in upskilling their workforce in terms of AI training.  

About 4 in 5 workers want to learn more about AI and how it can be used in their role, according to LinkedIn’s 2024 Workplace Learning report. On the other hand, just 38% of U.S. executives said that they are currently helping workers become AI-literate, as per the survey. Thus, an increasing number of employees around the world are learning to use AI tools on their own.

However, in a separate study conducted by KPMG, three-quarters of CEOs expressed that generative AI is a “top investing priority” and they are spending on AI to increase profitability, innovation, and security.

The One Most Important AI Skill to Learn

According to Laurence Liew, director for AI Innovation at AI Singapore, the top skill to learn today is communicating effectively with existing AI-powered tools. Talking to CNBC Make It, Liew said that people are using AI-powered LLMs, like Open AI’s ChatGPT wrongly. 

Liew says people are using it like a search engine but the key is to be specific in the prompts. The expert says the AI tools are like hardworking interns and they need a lot of context to generate the desired results. 



 

According to Liew, the best way to upskill AI tools at home is to use them. Through practice, people can learn how to craft better prompts and feed the LLM more descriptive information that will help generate better outcomes. Liew says while AI tools still seem foreign, by next year, they will become as common as the “spell-checker in Microsoft Word.” 

However, experts have also cautioned against upskilling on AI at home as it poses several risks. While online AI resources such as ChatGPT appear free to use, as per a CNBC report, they aren’t. The LLMs are algorithms that use datasets to learn and generate responses, so, workers can put company data at risk by sharing sensitive information with these tools. Thus, upskilling on AI tools also means to learn how to do it safely and effectively.

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