- Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming many parts of work, including talent acquisition. But AI skills are unevenly distributed among industries and nations, and without intervention, this problem may further widen today's digital divide, according to an INSEAD report released Jan. 22 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
- To truly realize the tech's potential — perhaps an ability to address poverty, endemic diseases, climate change and terrorism — employers may need to think about talent differently. For example, as talent becomes increasingly mobile, early AI adopters could leverage this to become more talent competitive, said Bruno Lanvin, executive director of global indices at INSEAD, and co-editor of the report, in a statement. Alain Dehaze, CEO of the Adecco Group, also noted that organizations and governments will need to focus on upskilling.
- But stakeholders will have to ensure the current digital divide doesn't worsen in the process: "Without careful attention to rules and principles that should guide AI research, development, and deployment, the gap between winners and losers in this new AI world could create an unsurpassable gap for other countries, especially emerging nations," Lanvin said.
Various studies have show that talent can't be an afterthought in AI initiatives. In fact, according to a study from MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group's GAMMA and Henderson Institute, successful adopters establish internal teams and rely less on external vendors; import AI talent for leadership in tech roles; and upskill their current workforce in AI.
And as Dehaze noted, learning will play a crucial role. According to an IBM Institute for Business Value study released in September, 120 million employees across the globe may need retraining or reskilling in just a few years, but fewer than half have the resources and people to carry out this development initiative. This presents challenges for HR leaders, who must get their organizations to invest in preparing their workforce for the future.
Of course, the increased mobility of talent will play a role, too, as Lanvin said, providing employers in areas without AI talent access to such workers. A talent strategy that includes both efforts to "build" and "buy" a workforce is likely the best bet, experts previously told HR Dive. "The workforce is changing rapidly and there is no one-size-fits-all approach," said Cliff Justice, principal, innovation and enterprise solutions at KPMG.