IBM’s business research organization (the IBM Institute for Business Value), released results from a new global study. Its conclusion? “The world of work has changed compared to even six months ago.”
Executives surveyed estimate that 40% of their workforce will need to reskill as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years. That could translate to 1.4 billion of the 3.4 billion people in the global workforce, according to World Bank statistics. Respondents also report that building new skills for existing employees is a top talent issue.
Workers at all levels could feel the effects of generative AI, but entry-level employees are expected to see the biggest shift. Seventy-seven percent of executive respondents say entry-level positions are already seeing the effects of generative AI and that will intensify in the next few years. Only 22% of respondents report the same for executive or senior management roles.
AI can open up more possibilities for employees by enhancing their capabilities. In fact, 87% of executives surveyed believe employees are more likely to be augmented than replaced by generative AI. That varies across functions — 97% of executives think employees in procurement are more likely to be augmented than replaced, compared to 93% for employees in risk and compliance, 93% for finance, 77% for customer service and 73% for marketing…
With AI primed to take on more manual and repetitive tasks, employees surveyed report engaging in impactful work is the top factor they care about beyond compensation and job security — more important than flexible work arrangements, growth opportunities and equity. On top of that, nearly half of employees surveyed believe the work they do is far more important than who they work for or who they work with regularly…
ZDNet explains the report’s methodology:
To find answers to these questions, IBM pulled data from two prior studies, one survey of 3,000 C-level executives across 28 countries and another of 21,000 workers in 22 nations…
According to IBM IBV research, tech adopters who successfully reskill to adapt “technology-driven job changes report a revenue growth rate premium of 15% on average” and those who focus on AI “see a 36% higher revenue growth rate than their peers.” “AI won’t replace people — but people who use AI will replace people who don’t,” said IBM in the report.
The new skill paradigm shifts technical skills that were typically prioritized, such as proficiency in STEM, which was the most critical skill in 2016, to the least priority in 2023. The reason is that now tools like ChatGPT allow workers to do more with less knowledge, as noted by the report. Now there is a bigger emphasis on people skills such as team management, the ability to work effectively in team environments, the ability to communicate effectively, and the willingness to be adaptable to change, which all shifted to top the most critical skills required of the workforce in 2023.
The report ultimately suggests HR leaders redesign work and operating models “to shepherd their organizations into the future.”