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Report: 95% of execs say hiring professionals trained in AI is difficult

In line with “The Great Resignation” that’s swept the U.S., a new report from information-based analytics provider RELX found that 95% of respondents view hiring and retaining AI talent as a challenge. What may be the most surprising takeaway, however, regards a perceived disconnect between AI ethics and productivity.

The majority of respondents (90%) believe ethical standards in the development and use of emerging technologies can represent a competitive advantage for businesses. Those in the banking industry were most likely to feel this way (95%).

About two-thirds (64%) of senior executives, however, have identified existing bias in AI technologies used by their company.

Infographic. Talent and The Great Resignation. 95% of respondents see hiring and retaining AI talent as a challenge. 39% of respondents who said AI has a negative impact on their industry stated it is because it requires more training or upskilling of workers. 56% invested in upskilling employees to use AI technologies as opposed to 65% in 2020. 52% of people invested in the future AI workforce through educational initiatives in 2020, as opposed to 65% in 2021. 50% hired external talent to assist in building out projects using AI, as opposed to 59% in 2020.

A potential driver for the disconnect between the desire for ethical AI and the existence of biased technologies is that 69% of business leaders believe there is a trade-off between ethical AI and productivity in their company.

Despite the perceived impact on productivity, progress is still being made: 92% of executives are implementing ethics across their AI systems, though 41% are only doing so for new systems and leaving legacy systems untouched.

As leaders look ahead to 2022, they should not overlook the importance of training to help mitigate bias and encourage ethical AI. RELX’s latest report indicates that companies offering training on AI technologies are on the rise. In fact, in 2021, over 90% of senior executives in five of the eight industries responded that their company offers training on AI technologies. A year ago, the exhibitions industry was the only one where more than 90% of senior executives responded that their company offers such training. In 2019 and 2020, no industry came close to 90%. Notably, in 2021, 95% of insurance executives believe their company is making it a priority to train employees in developing AI models that do not contain or replicate bias, as well as other AI ethics good practices.

With Ipsos, RELX surveyed 1,021 US-based adults between the ages of 30 and 74 who were employed full-time, with a household income of $50,000+, who work at a company with 50+ employees, and are currently a senior executive or senior decision-maker/leader at their company.

Read the full report by RELX.

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