There is 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 IMB’s report ‘Addressing the AI Skills Gap in Europe’.

Also, nearly seven in 10 tech job seekers and tech employees believe that potential recruits lack the skills necessary for a career in AI.

 

Soft skills

As AI moves into the mainstream, specialist tech staff are working more closely than ever with business managers.

In order to secure the best possible outcomes, the soft skills of interpersonal communication, strategic problem solving and critical thinking are required across all disciplines to help ensure the most beneficial personal interactions.

Demonstrating these skills can greatly improve employability and career developments in AI.

 

What will be the consequences of the shortfall?

“It’s clear that the lack of skills and training could have a massive impact at a time of increasing global competition,” says Global Technical Lead for Government, IBM Technology, Sharon Moore MBE .

“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.”

 

Developing AI Skills 

Along with soft skills, 40 percent of tech job seekers and employees noted that software engineering and knowledge of programming languages are the most important technical capabilities for the AI/tech workforce to have.

“The growing importance of AI across so many industries should provide ample scope for tech sector growth. Unfortunately, a shortage of AI skills means that these opportunities can be hard to seize,” Moore said. “There’s a clear and disadvantageous gap in the education syllabus so for now in-house training from big tech companies, like IBM, needs to be prioritised.”

 

Room for improvement

Despite some companies working towards this goal, the survey reveals that there’s still room for improvement.

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 percent of staff receive such training, with 27 percent specifically focusing on software engineering, a key AI-related skill.

“AI is changing the world by automating decisions, predicting outcomes and optimising 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,” Moore said.

“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.”