Literacy with AI is essential for those who wish to remain competitive in the job market, but the increasing urgency to develop new AI-related skills is also causing employee stress, according to a TalentLMS survey.

As technology rapidly evolves, there is a growing demand for new skills, and this pressure to adapt can create anxiety and potentially affect productivity and job satisfaction. HR execs are also concerned about the impact of AI on different generations, with results indicating younger employees are more open to shifting to digital skills and roles to adapt to the AI-driven future.

However, according to 58% of HR managers, older generations may feel less confident at work compared to their younger colleagues because of AI – a generational gap raising managers’ worries about fostering an inclusive and confident workforce in the AI era.

Those who deeply understand AI, actively interact with it and skillfully use its power can adapt to the fast-paced work environment and pursue exciting job opportunities that heavily involve AI. 

However, training employees to understand how to communicate with an AI tool to get the results they want isn’t the easiest task, especially if a company doesn’t already have someone within the organization that has experience. There’s also the challenge of keeping up with the pace at which AI tools are progressing.

The technology is continuously improving and advancing, requiring ongoing training if organizations want to keep their teams up to date. This training comes with its own challenges in terms of logistics, time and money. 

Leonidas Palaiokostas, vice president of TalentCards, explains there are a few prominent difficulties that come to mind when considering how the AI skills gap is affecting organizations and the workplace.

“The first challenge around training employees on how to use AI-powered tools is teaching people how to adjust their mindset,” he says. “When you’re using a tool like ChatGPT, the quality of the results you get very much depends on how well you write your prompt.”

He points to legal issues surrounding AI, which have yet to be sorted out, and require ongoing scrutiny.

“With all these challenges it’s easy to see how AI touches every department of a company, across a wide range of industries,” Palaiokostas says.

Dimitris Tsingos, president of Epignosis and co-founder of TalentLMS, says what he found most surprising from the survey was that more than half of HR managers believe that AI literacy is essential for all employees, regardless of whether they work in technical or non-technical roles.

“Historically, familiarity with emerging technologies was reserved for – and expected from – tech-specialized employees,” he says. “But now, what sets AI apart from other technologies is its impact on the entire workforce, including those in creative roles.”

Tsingos adds it goes beyond individual employability: A workforce well-versed in AI directly translates into significant benefits for the employer, as well.

“By freeing up employees from mundane, repetitive tasks, organizations can boost productivity and let people focus on more strategic aspects of their role, improving ultimately the impact of their work,” he says.

The broader implications of the survey suggest AI adoption has evolved from a “nice-to-have” to a crucial element for achieving success in the tech-driven future.

“As AI continues to reshape industries and business landscapes, the speed of adoption will provide a competitive advantage to the organizations that get there first,” Tsingos says.

Palaiokostas points out an organization-wide response to AI skills building is required because AI either already impacts, or will impact every department of a company, across a wide number of industries.

“AI doesn’t only concern software developers and engineers,” he says. “Even employees who don’t think they’ll be using AI will end up using AI very soon.”

This is happening because software companies are embedding AI into the systems that millions of employees use every day.

Examples include: Training managers using AI-powered course builders, HR managers using AI-powered HR software, and data analysts using AI-powered analytics software.

“Having a workforce that understands how to best use these tools to increase efficiency is a competitive advantage both for these individual employees, and the companies for which they work.”