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Report: Cyber, AI and data dominate upskilling priorities

Written on Jun 28, 2024

Executives are targeting upskilling investments toward cyber, AI and data training opportunities as hiring for these skills remains a persistent pain point, according to a Skillsoft report. The corporate training company surveyed 5,711 IT decision-makers and staff, including 219 C-level executives. 

More than one-third of C-suite leaders identified cybersecurity and AI as top investment areas for training, and 3 in 10 said data. A year ago, only 13% of executives said hiring for AI skills was difficult — 32% said finding AI talent was challenging this year.  

“The reality is you can’t have a department operating at 100% efficiency when you don’t have a workforce qualified to meet those expectations,” Skillsoft said in the report. “And you can’t take full advantage of emerging technologies without skilled staff.” 

AI, data and cybersecurity have always been intertwined, but the need for highly skilled teams in these areas is reaching a boiling point. 

Without a good foundation and understanding, teams are left to flounder.  

“Gaps in skills necessary to keep a department running seamlessly is a heavy weight on IT leaders’ shoulders,” Skillsoft said in the report. “Decision-makers need to get creative with how they handle skilling, reskilling, and upskilling — whether it’s addressing root causes behind recruitment or retention issues or investing in more effective, efficient training solutions.” 

Businesses have incentives to plug the holes. Critical gaps in skills can put pressure on those ultimately bearing the burden: existing IT staff. Employees who feel overworked and behind on projects aren’t having a great experience at work, which can lead to them searching for greener pastures.  

Women in tech plan to leave their jobs this year at a comparable rate to that of 2022’s “great resignation” era of high attrition, according to an Ensono report. Enterprises that aren’t willing to support employees at work are putting their aspirations at risk.  

“You already have a known commodity: a workforce that knows your business, your customers, your process,” Skillsoft said in the report. “What you might not have, in terms of new skills or expertise in emerging technology, can be developed by dedicating resources to new certifications and continuous learning.” 

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