The AI Skills Gap


Executive Summary

As Alberta navigates the current and long-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy price crash, businesses are looking to the future of their growth and recovery. Artificial intelligence and machine learning present an opportunity to inform and support strategies for long-term recovery from these crises. However, as with many jurisdictions, Alberta employers are experiencing a gap in the skills needed to drive widespread AI adoption across all sectors of the economy.

This whitepaper sets out to uncover:

What skills gaps must be addressed toward AI adoption across sectors to speed Alberta’s recovery from economic downturn?

Through a series of interviews, this whitepaper gathers perspectives from businesses currently working on AI adoption and from some of the world’s top AI researchers in order to better understand what technical and business strategy skills gaps exist and how companies can take proactive steps to reduce these gaps.

This whitepaper, produced in collaboration between Microsoft Canada and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), details the high-level plans businesses have for AI adoption – including their current state as well as example use cases and outcomes they’re working toward. The greatest portion of the whitepaper explores both the technical and business skill sets companies have on hand and where they’re looking to grow their teams. Also included are insights from AI experts who spend some of their time advising industry partners – on everything from AI adoption and hiring strategies to ways of thinking about skills development.

Key findings contained in this whitepaper include:

  • Many Alberta companies are just beginning their work on AI adoption. Only a smaller portion of companies are already using AI as a competitive advantage or core functionality for their business.
  • While businesses are starting to gain the technical skill sets needed for AI adoption, gaps still remain in the selection, development, integration and evaluation of AI approaches.
  • Business and strategy skill sets remain an area of important growth for many companies currently working on AI adoption.

Additionally, the following insights from AI experts are highlighted in the whitepaper:

  • Think about impact + capabilities when planning AI adoption
  • Create opportunities for two-way learning between business and technical functions
  • Map your AI path forward before hiring a full team

Read on and learn more about key challenges facing companies in AI adoption and some of the ways they’re working on gaining the skills they need to set themselves up for AI success.

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