The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced businesses to switch to most of their operations online, appears to have increased the demand for technology employees. This new advancement will make several existing job profiles obsolete or irrelevant to current market demands- while others will grow exponentially and dominate the world of technology in no distant future.
Professional workers who are used to working from home during the pandemic want to stay where they are and don’t want to go back to their physical work locations. This is causing what industry is calling “a great resignation“.
Now, tech companies are starting to realize that they have more vacant IT positions as against the professionals with the necessary skills and expertise to fill them. .
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence (AI) enables software to execute human capabilities such as understanding, reasoning, planning, communication, and perception in an increasingly effective, efficient, and cost-effective manner. In most industries, automating these skills opens up new opportunities.
With the important evolution of algorithms, AI is already a reality. Deep learning algorithms, such as convolutional neural networks (CNN), for example, have dramatically improved the ability of computers to recognize objects in images. Furthermore, recurrent neural network (RNN) algorithms produce speech recognition systems that outperform humans.
How AI Can Help Companies
This shortage of skilled professionals doesn’t control or hinder customer expectations. Customer spending has increased as we are seeing vaccine rollouts and vanishing COVID restrictions. Customers are eager to get back to their pre-pandemic lifestyle, this means many companies have to scale up their operations, product roll out, etc.
Companies that don’t handle this talent shortage situation head-on will miss out on the opportunity to innovate post-Covid.
This is exactly where AI can help companies;
- AI can identify candidates with potential: When the available talent for a specific job function is scarce in the external job market, it becomes immensely challenging for HR and Talent Acquisition organizations to source the talent. AI can analyze the career paths of your current successful employees and can recommend candidates that can be a good fit for the role based on their potential to pick up new skills. For instance, what if the insight you got from an AI model informs you that an Arts major when trained properly on some technical skills for 6 months to 1 year will be a good User Experience Engineer? These AI-driven insights can enable companies to hire and coach talent from unconventional career paths and set them up for success.
- Match employees to internal gigs: Not every task/ project demands the need to hire a dedicated employee. Companies typically hire contract/ contingent workforce to meet their short-term needs. By thinking about short-term project needs as gigs, companies can identify internal employees with related skills and can reward them for assisting with these gigs. AI can parse through the current employees’ skills profiles and resumes and match them with the hiring managers/ teams that need their critical skills. This is also a good incentive for current employees as working on gigs will expand their network and can provide them an opportunity to explore/ refine new skills.
- Recommend learning paths: Gaining new skills in your current job is not easy. You must balance between accomplishing your current tasks and learning new skills. Oftentimes, learning and development for an employee is seen as an activity that is only talked about in the performance reviews and managers/ companies do very little to support the employee to gain new skills. AI algorithms can recommend courses/ learning pathways that can help employees to get to the next level in their careers. For instance, AI can identify that you have customer service and business analysis experience and can recommend you to learn data analysis to transition into a product manager role. These learning recommendations can be weighted based on the current needs and skills gaps of the company. Knowing the available career path options along with the missing skills means that the employees can take a structured approach to gain the skills that their firm values the most.
The role of AI will be both positive and challenging; AI will lead to innovation which, in turn, will lead to more efficient and secure businesses. Naturally, this will lead to job creation and cybersecurity professionals doing more interesting and less repetitive jobs.
The challenge will be that for these opportunities to become a reality, current and future professionals will need to ensure they have the relevant skills to seize the opportunity. If this does not happen, the skills gap will persist and possibly even widen.