UK suffers from AI skills gap

The UK is facing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills gap as numerous other countries are implementing AI more effectively.

This was discovered by Microsoft report ‘AI skills in the UK’ which found that the UK uses less AI and when it does it uses it in a less advanced way. The UK is less likely to be classified as “AI pros” compared to the global average (15 per cent vs 23 per cent). The UK also has a higher failure rate of implementing AI compared to the rest of the world (29 per cent vs 19 per cent).

The report raises concerns that as the world starts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK will fall behind Europe, the Americas and Australia because of a lack of AI skills.

Over a third, (35 per cent) of UK business leaders believe there will be an AI skills gap in the next two years and 28 per cent believe the country is already experiencing one. Over half (52 per cent) of UK employees are using AI to work faster compared to 69 per cent of employees globally.

Simon Lambert, chief learning officer for Microsoft UK, said:

The most successful organisations will be the ones that transform both technically and culturally, equipping their people with the skills and knowledge to become the best competitive asset they have. Human ingenuity is what will make the difference – AI technology alone will not be enough. At Microsoft, we’re on this journey just like everyone else, not least because the best learners make the best teachers. The larger point though, is not to be intimidated by the technology. Instead, get excited, develop your curiosity and let’s keep learning from one another.

Research from the International Data Corporation (IDC), a global market intelligence firm claim that AI and cloud technology will play a significant role in helping businesses and societies deal with the disruption created by COVID-19.

In October 2019, HRreview reported that the UK risks falling behind other countries such as the US and China unless they act now and accelerate their implementation of AI.

This was according to a report from Microsoft in partnership with Goldsmiths University which stated that more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of UK organisations are unclear if they have an AI strategy in place. As well as 74 per cent believe that the country does not have the socio-economic structures to lead in AI on a global scale.

In order to collate this report, Microsoft used data from its global AI skills study.