Organizations And Workers Believe AI Will Help Existing Jobs

Artificial Intelligence to more than double the rate of innovation in India by 2021, finds the Microsoft – IDC Study


By 2021, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will more than double the rate of innovation at organizations (x2.2 times) and employee productivity (x2.3 times) in India, according to the country’s business leaders.  The study by Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific titled ‘Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia Pacific’s Growth Potential Through AI surveyed 200 business leaders and 202 workers in India.

The survey conducted with 1,560 business decision makers in mid and large-sized organizations across 15 economies in the region highlights that while 77 percent of business leaders agreed that AI is instrumental for their organization’s competitiveness, only one-third of organizations in India have embarked on their AI journeys. Those companies that have adopted AI expect it to increase their competitiveness by 2.3 times in 2021.

The study also underlines the need for cultural changes and skilling and reskilling workforces to make AI work for the country. “To succeed in the AI race, India needs to substantially improve its readiness. Leaders should make AI a core part of their strategy and develop a learning agility culture. Investment in this transformative technology has to be continuous for long-term success. There is an urgent need for talents and tools to develop, deploy and monitor AI models, along with the availability of a robust data estate with the adequate governance,” according to Ranganath Sadasiva, Director, Enterprise, IDC.

Organizations need to address skills challenges for an AI-enabled workforce

The study found that India business leaders and workers hold positive viewpoints about the AI’s impact on the future of jobs. More than half (64 percent of business leaders and 63 percent of workers) believe that AI will either help to do their existing jobs better or reduce repetitive tasks. 

Perception of AI’s impact on jobs (Business Leaders and Workers)

When it comes to creating or replacing jobs, 16 percent of business leaders believe that AI will create new jobs, but 18 percent also feel that technology will replace workers. Workers are more optimistic, with only 4 percent expecting AI to replace jobs, and 21 percent to create new ones. At the same time, 12 percent of workers expect no impact on their jobs in three years from now. 

The study also found that workers are more willing to reskill than business leaders believe they are. 32 percent of business leaders perceive that workers find it challenging for them to reskill and upskill, but only 12 percent of workers saw it as a challenge.

Companies are willing to invest in human capital but lack concrete plans: 85 percent of businesses prioritize skilling and reskilling of workers in the future. They plan to invest in human capital evenly or even more compared to investing in technology. However, 65 percent of them are yet to implement plans to train their workers. The lack of understanding, where to start and strategically allocating time for reskilling are the key challenges in today’s retraining and reskilling initiatives.  Both business leaders and workers agree that the organization/company, as well as educational institutions, are responsible for reskilling for AI. A significant proportion also feels that the government has an important role to play for reskilling for AI.

Not just digital technological skills: Additionally, building an AI-ready workforce does not necessarily mean an acute need for technological skills. The top 3 most required skills in 3 years by business leaders in India: 1) Quantitative, analytical and statistical skills as well as 2) Digital skills, and 2) Entrepreneurship and initiative-taking. The demand for these skills is higher than the existing supply.

The study also uncovered that business leaders value soft skills more than workers expect. The biggest skills gaps identified were in:

1. Interpersonal skills and empathy (27-pt difference between business leaders and workers) 

2. Entrepreneurship and initiative-taking (20-pt difference between business leaders and workers)  

“Today, every company is a software company, and increasingly, every interaction is digital. To be successful in this new world, organizations need to be a fast adopter of best-in-class technology; and in addition to that, they need to build their own unique digital capabilities,” said Dr. Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India.

She added, “Economies and businesses that have yet to embark on their AI journey run a real risk of missing out on the competitive benefits that are enjoyed by leaders. Businesses must now embrace a new culture, where innovation and continuous learning are core components of the organizational culture. It sets the stage for agility, adaptability, and growth.”


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