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Canadian execs anticipate need to reskill workforce in era of AI: Study

As business look to adopt artificial intelligence and automation, c-suite executives expect workforce reskilling over next three years
technology AI

Canadian executives expect just under half of their workforce will need to reskill over the next three years as a result of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

A new global study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, Augmented work for an automated, AI-driven world, found that executives believe 42% of the Canadian workforce will need to reskill as they adopt generative AI in their business.

Fifty eight per cent of Canadian executives are investing in reskilling internally as opposed to hiring from outside (43%).

IBM surveyed 3,000 global c-suite executives across 20 industries and 28 countries.

Canadian executives surveyed ranked technology illiteracy as a top talent issue, which was ranked second among global executives. 

READ: Canadians' conflicting perspectives on AI in the food industry

People skills like time management and the ability to prioritize (44%), analytical skills with business acumen (41%) and ethics and integrity (39%) were rated most important by Canadian executives. 

"Canada continues to face serious workforce shortages and AI is our best opportunity to tackle this challenge as we reimagine how work gets done," said Dave McCann, president, IBM Canada, in a statement. "As AI becomes more pervasive and adoption accelerates across business, it is critical for leaders to set a plan which leverages people as a core competitive advantage. Taking these steps now in Canada is critical to ensure our industries and organizations maintain leadership and are not left behind."

The study provided recommendations for leaders to address talent challenges in the era of AI, including: increasing technical acumen of the workforce; investing in talent as much as technology; identifying tasks where AI or automation can free up employee time for higher value tasks; and engaging employees in the process.

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