IBM recently commissioned the study that was carried out by Morning Consult between 23 March and 4 April 2022. It was online conducted among a sample of 500 tech jobseekers, 300 tech employees and 200 tech recruiters in the UK, Spain and Germany. This research has revealed the size of the AI skills gap across Europe and found that the sector is struggling to find employees with adequate AI knowledge or experience. This shortage has the potential to stifle digital innovation and hold back economic growth.
IBM’s report named ‘Addressing the AI Skills Gap in Europe’ exposes a worrying shortfall in skills required for a career in AI. Although technical capabilities are vital for a career in the sector, problem-solving is considered the most critical soft skill needed for tech roles among all survey participants (up to 37%). However, around a quarter of tech recruiters (23%) have difficulty finding applicants with this aptitude, along with shortfalls in critical and strategic thinking.
According to the study, tech employees in Spain and Germany (42%) are given training opportunities on topics including programming languages, data engineering/analysis and software engineering. The UK falls behind, though. Just 32% of staff receive such training, with 27% specifically focusing on software engineering, a key AI-related skill.
“It’s clear that the lack of skills and training could have a massive impact at a time of increasing global competition. The report showed that offering education and skills training is seen as a top priority for companies looking to improve AI recruitment in the future. AI is changing the world by automating decisions, predicting outcomes and optimizing employees’ time. Yet, advances in AI are being slowed by the shortage of workers with skills and experience in areas the report has brought to light. With the right training, education and upskilling, we’ll be able to leverage AI to its full potential and as a result generate further value for companies and society.”Sharon Moore, MBE, Global Technical Lead for Government, IBM Technology