Despite business leaders acknowledging their employees will need new skills to work with AI, less than half (44 per cent) in the UK are helping their workforce become AI-literate, according to new research from LinkedIn.

With rapid advancements in AI, helping employees develop new skills has become business critical. LinkedIn data finds that the skills needed for jobs globally are projected to change by 51 per cent by 2030 (since 2016), and the rise of Generative AI is expected to accelerate this change to 68 per cent. 7 out of 10 (69 per cent) hiring managers in the UK expect skills gaps to widen in the next five years, underscoring the need for businesses to prioritise skills development if they are to capitalise on the opportunities presented by AI.

Professionals in the UK are also keen to boost their AI literacy – 76 per cent in the UK say they are excited to use AI in their work, and 65 per cent believe it will help their career progression. Skills development is also crucial to internal mobility and talent retention. Nine out of 10 UK organisations are concerned about employee retention, and half (49 per cent) of hiring managers in the UK predict an increase in employee turnover in 2024.

Internal mobility – the movement of employees to new career opportunities within an organisation – is considered one of the top ways to retain talent, however many companies are finding it difficult to implement. LinkedIn’s research finds that the top three barriers to internal mobility in the UK include a lack of L&D opps to pivot careers (27 per cent), talent hoarding (27 per cent) employees unaware of internal opportunities (25 per cent).

“Just over a year since Generative AI came to the forefront of public awareness, businesses are starting to invest in upskilling their employees to make the most of the technology. It’s these forward-looking organisations that will have an edge over competitors,” said Janine Chamberlin, Vice President and UK Country Manager, LinkedIn. “Companies cannot afford to be slow on upskilling if they are to capture the opportunities presented by AI and succeed in an ever-changing world of work. Upskilling employees on hard and soft skills will not only help companies to become more agile, but also improve retention and make it easier for people to pivot into new careers within the organisation. The businesses that get this right will benefit from having people with the right skills, in the right roles, at the right time.

“However, to make this successful, companies will also need to cultivate a culture of continuous learning – signposting internal roles, encouraging employees to consider their next move, and helping them to understand the skills they need to switch into new roles.”

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