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New Research: Over Half of Workers Say Generative AI Will Help Advance Their Career, but Most Lack the Skills

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Salesforce surveyed over 4,000 full-time desk workers as part of its Generative AI Snapshot Research Series, finding that while 54% of workers believe generative AI will advance their career, 62% say they don’t have the skills to effectively and safely use the technology. This data follows a recent survey that found only 1 in 10 global workers have overall, in-demand AI skills. The research also indicates that while workers want to learn and expect their companies to provide upskilling opportunities, employers often fall short of expectations.

Read on to uncover more from the research.

Desk workers are optimistic about the impact of generative AI 

Respondents believe generative AI will transform their role. In fact, 62% say generative AI will require a new set of skills at work and 56% say the technology will transform their role altogether.

With the help of generative AI, workers say they can focus on strategic work and save time:

  • 65% believe generative AI will allow them to focus on more strategic work.
  • Workers believe generative AI will save them five hours per week – the equivalent of one month per year for full-time workers – at work.*

There is a generative AI skills gap

While workers are optimistic about the potential of generative AI, they lack the know-how to take full advantage of this rapidly-evolving technology. 

  • 40% say they don’t know how to effectively use generative AI at work.
  • 43% say they don’t know how to leverage generative AI using trusted data sources and while keeping first-party data secure.
  • 53% don’t know how to get the most value out of generative AI.

Specifically, workers say they lack the required skill sets to use generative AI:

  • 62% of workers say they don’t have the skills to effectively and safely use generative AI.
  • 70% of business leaders don’t believe their teams have the skills to effectively and safely use generative AI.

Desk workers expect their company to close the skills gap, but employers are lagging

Workers want to learn and are looking to their companies for direction, but employers are falling short. Two out of three workers (67%) expect their employer to provide opportunities to learn how to use generative AI, but nearly the same amount (66%) say their employer does not offer training on the technology.

Business leaders see clear cost-saving incentives to closing the the generative AI skills gap:

  • 82% of business leaders say generative AI will lower overall business costs.
  • 80% of business leaders say generative AI will increase revenue. 

“Generative AI presents massive opportunities for businesses and workers alike. However, as AI becomes more common in the workplace, the skills gap will continue to widen,” said Ann Weeby, SVP of Trailhead, Salesforce. “Companies have a responsibility to democratize access to needed skills and training to close the AI skills gap.”

Companies have a responsibility to democratize access to needed skills and training to close the AI skills gap.

Ann Weeby, SVP of Trailhead, Salesforce

“AI has the potential to transform jobs across every industry and specialty,” said Brent Hyder, President and Chief People Officer, Salesforce. “Employers must anticipate these kinds of seismic technological shifts and provide resources and training to ensure the success of their employees, customers, and ultimately their business.”

More information

  • Learn AI skills on Trailhead
  • Read more about sales and service teams perspectives on generative AI
  • Read more about marketers’ perspectives on generative AI

Research methodology

Salesforce conducted a generative AI survey in partnership with YouGov May 18 – 25, 2023. The data above reflects responses from 4,135 full-time knowledge workers across sales, service, marketing, and commerce. The respondents represent companies of a variety of sizes and sectors in the United States, UK, and Australia. The survey took place online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S., UK, and Australian full-time workers (aged 18+).

*(5 hours per week on average saved using ‘generative AI’ x 52 weeks in one year) / 8-hour working day = 32.5 days or a month per year saved on average

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