Is it Time to Use AI to Help Solve the Skills Gap?

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HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

AI could be one of the most powerful tools available to businesses seeking new approaches and solutions to skills shortages.

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Is it Time to Use AI to Help Solve the Skills Gap?
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Skills shortages are a major challenge for businesses in various industries around the world.

Past research by Gartner highlighted the global talent shortage as the top emerging risk facing organizations, while a more recent study suggested 58% of the workforce will need new skill sets to succeed in their jobs.

This issue could have serious consequences in terms of business performance and profitability, with Korn Ferry warning that talent deficiencies could create a cost of $8.5 trillion in unrealized revenues by 2030.

So what can you do to address this challenge and put the organization in a strong position to succeed in the coming years?

One strategy worth considering is using AI to optimize your talent development and acquisition.

More time for skills development

Research has suggested that AI is becoming an increasingly prominent feature of many organizations and how they function.

In Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2020 survey, 70% of respondents said their company was exploring or using AI at some level. It’s also been predicted that ongoing growth and innovation in this space will add $13 trillion to the global economy over the next decade.

The growth of concepts like robotics and automation in the workplace will cause understandable concern about job losses, but research has also suggested that AI will create as many roles as it displaces in the near future.

Furthermore, the automation of routine processes can give your employees more time to focus on training, learning and expanding their skill sets. This could prove crucial if you want to protect the business from talent shortages by developing crucial knowledge and capabilities from within.

Understanding existing skill sets

AI-powered analytics tools can be particularly useful when you need to complete tasks that involve a lot of data collection and evaluation, such as assessing your current workforce.

A skills audit will help you identify where your strengths lie and pinpoint the abilities you have the greatest need for, now and in the future. AI can play a crucial role in ensuring this process runs as quickly and efficiently as possible, and gives you accurate, actionable results.

The stronger your understanding of your existing employees, the better-placed the business will be to nurture key capabilities moving forward. This could prove vital to lasting success in fast-moving, competitive industries.

Optimizing learning

Ongoing learning and development (L&D) for your existing workforce will prove just as important as external recruitment in your mission to bridge talent gaps.

It's therefore vital to think about how you can use every tool and resource at your disposal to get the best possible returns from the time and budget you're investing in training.

One company that’s seen the benefits of incorporating AI into its learning programs is ON Semiconductor, whose Director of Global L&D, Elizabeth Greene, told CMS Wire there’ll be a big increase in the use of these technologies by HR departments in the coming years.

The Phoenix-based semiconductor manufacturer has used AI to make various improvements to its L&D operations and overall employee experience, including:

  • Personalized learning journeys based on job role, current skill sets, development plans and goals
  • More effective content matching and recommendations, based on the needs of individual employees
  • The introduction of chatbots to give employees real-time answers to frequently asked questions

Predicting future needs

AI can help you be more efficient in analyzing your currently available skills and L&D activities, but it can also enable you to look forward and make data-driven predictions about future talent trends and specific requirements for your business.

With AI-driven processes like predictive analytics, you can use current and historical data to make forecasts in various areas that will relate to your skills needs and potential shortages.

For example, using a predictive system to give you an idea of the most dangerous emerging cybersecurity threats will help you determine what capabilities you need to understand and overcome these challenges.

These technologies can also prove valuable in the recruitment process. By collecting and analyzing data from the widest possible range of sources - from tests and assessments to social media profiles - predictive analytics can inform your judgments about who to hire.

As well as giving you access to the people and talent you need to succeed right now, better-quality hiring will help you build strong, long-lasting employee relationships and reduce staff turnover in the long term.

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