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Strategic reskilling a must as workforces respond to Gen AI integration, experts say

Strategic reskilling a must as workforces respond to Gen AI integration, experts say
15 May 2024 08:46


The UAE has demonstrated remarkable readiness for the integration of AI, a cornerstone of its strategic vision for economic growth and talent development, David Jones, CEO of Mercer Talent Enterprise, told Aletihad in an interview on Tuesday.

He cited as evidence the investment in Arabic-language trained AI-software in the UAE.

Jones expressed optimism regarding the transformative role of this technology in shaping the UAE labour market, provided that comprehensive policies and safeguards are in place to regulate its implementation effectively.

This took place on the sidelines of the L&D Summit, the region’s premier learning and development conference held in Abu Dhabi, bringing together over 650 talent development leaders to delve into the transformative potential of Generative AI (Gen AI) and its implications for the UAE’s Vision 2030 of fostering a resilient knowledge economy.

Jones underscored the prevalent use of Gen AI across global workplaces, noting that more than 60% of employees integrate this technology into their daily tasks.

This significantly contributes to improving efficiency and time management, he said, estimating that it saves each employee roughly 10 hours per month in productivity gains.

Despite the advantages of early AI adoption and innovation, Jones cautioned against the accompanying risks, prompting employers to adopt proactive policy frameworks to maximise the potential of this technology, while safeguarding against its risks.

In a presentation titled “Skills Powered Organisations” during the summit, Jones and Lisa Lyons, Regional Transformation Centre of Excellence Lead – IMEA at Mercer, highlighted the urgency for organisations to adapt to the rise of Gen AI and emphasised the need for agile skills development strategies.

Jones noted that it’s essential to build capabilities and establish career paths conducive to future growth amidst workforce transformations driven by automation and changing workforce demographics.

Lyons echoed Jones’ sentiments, emphasising the dual challenge and opportunity presented by generative AI.

She cited research indicating that 80% of the workforce will be impacted by AI, with 13% of jobs likely to see over half of their tasks automated.

However, she highlighted the potential for productivity gains ranging from 10% to 30%.

The discussion delved into the three stages of AI adoption: understanding the impact, scaling up, and full transformation.

The speakers explored practical approaches to upskilling and reskilling, stressing the importance of job redesign and workforce planning.

Jones said that Mercer is committed to incorporating AI-based assessment tools into talent development and learning pathways, all while recognising the need to address apprehensions over job security and the technology’s potential impact on roles.

He underscored the importance of talent assessments in mitigating risks and optimising the advantages associated with AI integration.

Lyons outlined a systematic approach to managing the impact of AI on jobs, noting the importance of deconstructing roles into component tasks, and leveraging AI to identify opportunities for job redesign and reskilling.

The speakers concluded with a call for organisations to embrace a skills-powered approach, prioritising skills development, job redesign, talent sourcing, and rewards activation to thrive in the age of Gen AI.

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