The AI skills gap is a hot topic within the training industry, with many companies recognising the benefits of implementing new technology, including AI systems. They are now however facing a shortage of AI and data talent to manage their progress into the future.

Increased spending on AI systems, from nearly half of businesses, has resulted in an upgraded legacy system, reduced costs and improved operational efficiency and opportunities. Therefore, the demand for skilled talent to manage, implement and drive these systems has never been higher. Companies now need to look to their training capabilities to ensure that they can build a workforce who are able to manage the new technology and utilise it to its full advantage.

Some countries are excelling ahead of others in ensuring that they are able to best tackle the AI skills gap, with China at the forefront of AI research, producing twice as many papers on the subject than any other nation. Although they share similar issues in unequal talent distribution as the UK, they are working tirelessly to identify an effective solution.

Driving talent interest

One of the key barriers for many companies is that they are unable to attract the people who have the skills they need or similar capabilities which could easily be transferred into the skills they require.

Companies, such as Huawei, push a great deal of budget into developing better products and improving their internal efficiencies, and within this budget, they assign a sizable sum to attract and retain talent. The key understanding here is that without the highly skilled people entering and staying in the business, companies such as this will not be able to create innovative and cutting-edge products so consistently.

Investment in attracting talent and retaining them should be at the forefront of any innovative business strategy, whilst also considering the methods in which they periodically train people, in order to form the basis of a holistic approach to people management.

For companies like Huawei, they have effectively future-proofed their business for the time being, by ramping up R&D efforts and realigning the vision to reflect the values they want to push. Their current vision statement now reads; ‘Bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected intelligent world’ a phrase which aims to drive the focus on developing better people to achieve better, as a business.

Ongoing education

Although employing those with PhD and Masters qualifications is important, a qualification isn’t always an effective reflection of an employee's value. Hiring purely based on qualifications is often not an effective gauge of how successful an applicant will be in actually performing a job, therefore companies should never disregard those who have industry experience over formal qualifications or fresh graduates.

For businesses, hiring individuals at entry level offers them access to talent with new and diverse ideas. They are then able to implement training programmes which will shape the future of the business as well as the individual's career path, creating a mutually beneficial relationship through continuous learning.

One of the key concerns is if the education system is able to keep up with technology, in order to ensure that people are prepared to enter workplaces which demand a higher knowledge of current and future developments. Although businesses should not rely on the education system to provide them with what they need, they should both consider working closely in partnership with schools, colleges and universities as well as implementing more extensive training courses for employees to try to tackle the skills gap.