Only 1 in 10 workers have skills related to AI: Salesforce


Even as companies make significant investments in AI, most workers have yet to use AI — with “only 1 in 10” worldwide saying their daily role currently includes AI skills, Salesforce said.

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But even though companies are making significant investments in AI, most workers have yet to use it — “only 1 in 10” worldwide say their daily role currently includes AI skills, the survey found.

Such skills include AI-specific programming languages, machine learning and automation testing.

That’s despite the “excitement” workers feel about the prospect of using generative AI at work, Salesforce said.

“In fact, more workers were excited about using it in their workplace (58%) than worried about replacing it in their job (42%),” the cloud software company added.

Generative AI’s ability to create text, images and other content in response to human input has sparked new fears that jobs will be replaced by tech.

With its ability to supercharge human capabilities, AI should be used as a tool to empower the workforce rather than hinder or replace them.

Sujith Abraham


A recent Goldman Sachs report found that as many as 300 million jobs around the world could be affected by AI and automation, such as office and administrative support roles.

“With its ability to supersede human capabilities, AI should be used as a tool to empower the workforce rather than hinder or replace them,” said Sujith Abraham, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce ASEAN.

“(But) it is not without risk. This aspect is embedded in our generative AI guidelines that help guide responsible development and implementation of this transformative technology, which includes human participation.”

People leaders said that “data security skills, ethical AI and automation skills, and programming skills” are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, according to Salesforce.

However, there is a “disconnect” between the skills that companies need for the future, and those currently used by the workforce.

That gap continues to exist as companies race to develop AI technologies, Salesforce added.

While 4 in 5 global workers report using digital skills in their daily work, few report having skills beyond “collaboration technology, digital administration and digital project management,” the company said.

Only 14% say their role includes other related digital skills such as encryption and cyber security, and 13% claim they use coding and app development skills.

The penetration of AI skills also varies between industries. It comes as no surprise that the tech industry is the one that uses the most AI skills worldwide, Salesforce added.

“But even for this industry, less than a third of employees use AI skills in their role today,” Salesforce added.

However, things are a little different in Asia. For example, in India, it’s the travel and tourism industry, rather than tech, that ranks highest for the application of AI skills — with 67% using AI skills in their roles today, Salesforce told CNBC Make It.

“In the past year, AI use has become more prevalent in the industry, with AI-powered systems and chatbots empowering consumers with more comprehensive and real-time insights,” said Abraham.

“Companies can drive rules into their systems to generate more personalized options and bring consumers closer to a decision.”

As for Singapore, the industry that ranked highest for the application of AI skills was manufacturing – even though only 21% say they use AI skills in their role.

“The manufacturing sector is a critical part of Singapore’s economy, representing approximately 21% of the country’s GDP by 2022,” said Abraham.

“AI has been crucial in driving improvements in efficiency, quality of production and service processes.”

That includes using real-time or predictive models to better manage logistics and supply chain challenges, he added.

In light of the shift to skills-based hiring, acquiring more skills will be “critical” to an AI-driven future, Salesforce said.

His survey found that 82% of people leaders said skills are the “most important attribute” when evaluating candidates.

That’s a lot higher than the 18% who said that relevant degrees are most important.

“With the rapid pace of innovation today, skills-based hiring allows companies to quickly leverage new technologies,” Abraham said.

“Companies recognize the value of a skilled workforce to remain competitive and adaptable.”

And 97% of global workers say they believe companies should prioritize AI in their employee development strategy, according to the survey.

Companies must therefore actively enable employees to acquire skills, said Abraham.

“Workers need to be enabled with the hard and soft skills to use AI solutions that are already embedded in everyday systems and work applications,” he added.

“This includes understanding the parameters within which to work with AI, the types of use cases where AI can deliver the best results, validating the responses generated by AI, (and) spotting red flags in the generated content.”

Don’t miss: Here are the top skills you need for an ‘AI-powered future’, according to new Microsoft data
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