AI Skills in the UK report

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AI Skills in the UK report

How UK businesses can address the skills gap, and capitalise on the AI opportunity

While digital transformation has been a defining feature of global business over the past decade, 2020 has ushered in seismic changes, most notably due to COVID-19 and the urgent shift to remote working. As Satya Nadella put it - the world experienced two years of digital transformation in the first two months of the global lockdown.

Uncertainty naturally breeds caution, but it also offers new opportunities for organisations to adapt faster, leaner, and smarter. Yet as UK organisations strengthen their digital foundations, how can they capitalise on these foundations and equip their workforce with the skills they need to succeed?

These are questions we consider in new research looking into the UK’s AI skills, which reveals that compared to the rest of the world, the UK suffers from lower AI maturity, adoption levels, and skills within the workforce.

The findings reveal that:

  • 15% of UK companies can be classified as advanced ‘AI pros’, compared to 23% of Global companies
  • 52% of UK employees are using AI to work faster and smarter, compared to 69% of employees Globally
  • 35% of UK business leaders foresee an AI skills gap in the next two years. 28% say we already have one
  • Only 17% of UK employees are being re-skilled for AI, compared to 38% Globally

With previous research from Microsoft UK revealing that organisations embracing AI, outperform the competition by 11.5%, UK organisations can ill afford an AI skills gap.

As the UK focuses on economic recovery, organisations must take every opportunity to remain competitive and address the gaps in workforce readiness.

Simon Lambert, Chief Learning Officer for Microsoft UK, comments in his foreword, technology alone is not enough - digital transformation is only possible with the right digital skills: “We hear from customers every day who are passionate about AI’s potential and want to ensure their employees are set up for success. Even in this uncertain time, many organisations are continuing to focus on up-skilling their workforce and accelerating digital maturity. We’re heartened by this commitment to developing AI understanding, and hope this report will help UK business leaders identify valuable areas of opportunity.

Download Microsoft’s AI Skills in the UK report today. Learn the practical, cultural, and educational steps from a range of fellow business leaders that will enhance your organisation’s AI skills advantage.
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