Salesforce released data from its new digital skills survey of 1000 workers in India which shows that the vast majority think skills are more important than education qualifications or career background. Yet only 4 in 10 Indian employees are using AI in their current role — which is cited as one of today’s most in-demand digital skills. Today’s results form part of a global survey of 11,035 working adults across 11 countries.
89% of Indian workers consider skills-based experience more important than a degree or industry-specific qualification when trying to land a job in today’s market.
However, there is a disconnect between the skills companies need and those currently used by the workforce. While 9 in 10 Indian workers report using digital skills in their day-to-day work, only 1 in 4 workers are currently using AI skills in their day to day roles and just over half (52%) report using skills beyond digital administration.
There is less fear and more excitement around the potential of emerging technologies to transform the jobs of the future. This, paired with workers’ reported desire to learn new skills, suggests that companies can help close the digital skills gap by providing continuous, skills-based training to their employees.
Leaders and employees agree on the need for AI skills
With AI technologies like generative AI emerging fast, 93% of Indian workers reported excitement about the prospect of using generative AI for their job. In India 91% say that their company is considering ways to use generative AI.
Indian workers agree that AI skills are important. Almost a third of workers (29%) rank AI skills as among the top three most important digital skills right now, rising further when asked about the importance of these skills over the next five years.
As needs evolve, workplace skills lag
Despite its importance to their future skill set, only 4 in 10 Indian workers say that their day-to-day role involves AI. A mere 34% say their role involves other, related digital skills like encryption and cyber security, and only 27% claim to use coding and app development skills.
The industry indexing the highest for AI skills is Travel and Tourism, however, even for this industry, only 67% use AI skills within their role today. Outside of the Travel & Tourism roles, this number drops further; 21% of those in the Public Sector and 25% of those in Healthcare report they use AI skills in their day-to-day role.
The path forward is upskilling. All Indian workers surveyed believe businesses should prioritize AI skills in their employee development strategy.
As a result of the rise in AI and automation, Indian employees say data security and ethical AI and automation skills will become increasingly more important in the workplace. When asked what ‘soft’ skills will likely be more important as a result, employees ranked customer relationship and creative skills as highest.
With workers wanting to expand their limited set of digital skills, they are now favouring companies seeking to boost emerging technology skills and focus on skills-based hiring - nine in 10 believe that businesses should prioritize digital skills development for their employees.
A global movement toward skills-based hiring
The shift toward skills-based hiring is evident at all levels. Globally, most (82%) people leaders surveyed said that skills are the most important attribute when evaluating candidates. Only 18% said that relevant degree/industry-specific qualifications are the most important.
Most global people leaders (98%) believe the shift to skills-based hiring provides business benefits. Over half (56%) cited talent retention as a benefit. Increased workforce diversity (48%) and knowledge sharing (46%) also ranked highly.
Additionally, most people leaders globally believe that prioritizing employees’ digital skills development will have positive impacts on wider business performance, citing increased productivity (47%), better team performance (43%), and improved problem-solving capabilities (40%).
“Current headwinds businesses are facing demonstrate the need for embedding resilience at every level of an organization. This starts with investing in the right technology and skills. As more companies adapt AI and automation to streamline their operations and boost efficiencies, the need to train employees to leverage these tools will become even greater. Complimenting employees’ excitement for the opportunities these tools offer with effective skills development programs should be an important part of every business leader’s strategic plan,” said Sanket Atal, Managing Director - Salesforce India Operations & Site Lead, Salesforce India.
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