Companies suffer skills gap in AI and machine learning

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Artificial Intelligence and machine learning has been identified as the most important areas organisations must develop staff skills in, a new survey by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing has found.

The institute’s Business Skills Census 2019 asked marketers to identify the skills and challenges facing organisations today and their importance in the future. 

Skills in AI and machine learning were found to be available within 45 per cent of organisations, according to marketers. The IDM added that 64 per cent stated that these skills would be important to the future success of their respective organisations, revealing a substantial skills gap (19 per cent) within the survey.

IDM said that 87 per cent stated that developing skills in AI and machine learning is vital to their organisation’s current success. This highlights the urgency with which businesses will have to address this knowledge gap if they hope to succeed.

Marketing focus

The IDM survey, which focused on marketers’ own abilities, also highlighted that AI and machine learning had the biggest skills gap, with a 25 per cent difference between perceived importance between marketers’ current roles and for future career progression.

AI and machine learning are already driving intelligent marketing and data analytics, which is resulting in a rise in jobs requiring these skills, IDM said. 

According to a 2017 analysis from jobs site Indeed, the number of roles in AI has risen by 485 per cent in the UK since 2014, and there are twice as many jobs requiring AI and machine learning skills as there are applicants.

“Future-proofing a business requires a commitment to supporting the development of knowledge, workers and their ability to take advantage of technology in the form of AI in particular,” said Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA. 

“As data and marketing intelligence continues to transform the way businesses communicate with customer, the demand for marketers that are equipped with an ever-expanding skillset will increase. 

“In the not-too-distant future, businesses and their marketing teams will need to be equally proficient in analytics, creative thinking and AI integration.”

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