Tech Giants Unite to Upskill Workforce for AI – PYMNTS.com

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Tech heavyweights like Google and Microsoft have formed a task force to skill-up workers for the artificial intelligence (AI) era, addressing the urgent need for AI-savvy professionals in evolving job markets.

The consortium includes Accenture, Eightfold, Google, IBM, Indeed, Intel, Microsoft and SAP, as well as six advisers. As AI reshapes industries and job roles, experts say there’s a growing need to prepare workers with the skills required to succeed in environments influenced by AI technology. 

“AI is accelerating the pace of change for the global workforce, presenting a powerful opportunity for the private sector to help upskill and reskill workers for the future,” Francine Katsoudas, executive vice president and chief people, policy and purpose officer at Cisco, one of the members of the group, said in a statement. “We look forward to engaging other stakeholders — including governments, NGOs and the academic community — as we take this important first step toward ensuring that the AI revolution leaves no one behind.”

As PYMNTS reported last year, generative AI technology like ChatGPT has the potential to boost productivity significantly but also disrupt the labor market. A research report by Goldman Sachs suggested that automation could impact 25% of jobs in the U.S. and Europe, particularly those in the legal and administrative sectors. Approximately two-thirds of employment in these regions is exposed to some level of AI automation. However, most workers would likely retain their positions with less than half of their tasks automated, and only 7% of U.S. workers are in roles where AI could automate at least half of their responsibilities, potentially leading to job replacement.

AI Education for Millions

Going by the incredibly unwieldy name, the AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workforce Consortium, the group seeks to provide recommendations and training programs that will enable businesses to adapt to the changing landscape and empower workers to secure opportunities in the digital economy.

In its initial phase, the consortium will evaluate the impact of AI on 56 ICT job roles, representing a significant portion of the ICT sector in the United States and five of the largest European countries by ICT workforce numbers. The findings will provide practical insights and recommendations to employers seeking to reskill and upskill their workers in preparation for AI-enabled environments.

The consortium members said they plan to help over 95 million individuals worldwide over the next decade through skills development and training programs. Cisco aims to train 25 million people with cybersecurity and digital skills by 2032, while IBM plans to train 30 million individuals by 2030, including 2 million in AI. 

Intel has committed to empowering more than 30 million people with AI skills for current and future jobs by 2030. Microsoft intends to train and certify 10 million people from underserved communities with in-demand digital skills by 2025. SAP has set a goal to upskill 2 million people worldwide by 2025, and Google has recently announced €25 million in funding to support AI training and skills for people across Europe.

Upskilling for Every Industry

Every industry will need workers to be reskilled. Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture emphasized in a press release, “Organizations that invest as much in learning as they do in technology not only create career pathways, they are well positioned to lead in the market.”

According to an IMF report, AI’s reach into the workforce is vast and uneven, affecting around 40% of jobs globally. This impact intensifies in advanced economies, where 60% of roles could be automated or altered, particularly high-skilled ones, potentially halving labor demand and opportunities even rendering some jobs obsolete. In contrast, emerging and low-income nations face lower risks, with 40% and 26% exposure rates, illustrating the varied effects of AI across different economic landscapes.

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