Only 1 in 10 employees uses AI skills at work. Bosses want to change that.

In a Salesforce survey of 11,000 workers worldwide, few said their daily work currently includes artificial intelligence. But with the advent of technology like ChatGPT and a focus on improving employee skills, that’s changing fast.


When Minneapolis resident Tony Nguyen lost his job managing a sandwich shop during the pandemic, he decided his next move would be tech. After spending his first five years out of college in the restaurant industry, Nguyen wanted to learn new skills like process automation and data analysis.

To help, Nguyen turned to Trailhead, Salesforce’s training and personal development platform, where he earned certifications, completed programs, and eventually landed a job as an administrator managing data and analytics for Salesforce products.

“Growing up, I loved playing video games and computers – it’s always been a passion,” says Nguyen. The next skill Nguyen wants to learn? Generative AI.

In a global survey of 11,000 employees conducted by Salesforce, only one in ten employees said that their daily work currently includes artificial intelligence. But with the advent of technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the shift toward skill-based hiring, and an increasing focus on improving the existing workforce in the face of the looming downturn, 80% of senior IT leaders said there was a need to recruit employees in the generative space Hire and train AI.

“[AI] pops up everywhere and in every job,” said Ann Weeby, senior vice president of Trailhead at Salesforce, which is adding AI programs to Trailhead’s catalog of courses. “Skills change, technology changes and workers are left behind.”

The talent shortage for AI skills is widespread. When software company SAS Institute surveyed managers at 111 companies based in the US, UK and Ireland about the skills gap, 63% said they don’t have enough employees with AI and machine learning skills.

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As bosses scramble to boost workplace development, venture capitalists predict AI, virtual reality and virtual learning startups will dominate the education tech space this year. Universities are increasingly creating AI courses and resources, such as Carnegie Mellon University’s AI degree in 2018, MIT’s $1 billion investment in a new college for AI in 2018, and the upcoming Center for AI Learning of Emory University.

But according to chatbot maker Tidio, nearly 69% of college graduates believe AI could take over their job or make it irrelevant in a few years.

Jennifer Trzepacz, chief people officer at SymphonyAI, says the enterprise AI company is increasingly considering incorporating AI into the way employees work. “Many people may be concerned about what AI means for them or their work,” says Trzepacz, but AI reduces administrative tasks to free up more time for collaboration and innovation.

“AI is part of the future,” she says. “We need to be curious and learn.” To help employees learn more about using AI, Trzepacz says the company has launched an initiative called “AI Is For Everyone” to raise employee awareness of AI. Sharpen applications and technologies.

David Fontain’s insurance technology company Foresight uses AI in its products to generate security compliance recommendations for its customers.

“[AI] is not just a catchphrase,” he says. Rather, with foresight, it’s already useful in practical applications and for streamlining workflows, as machine learning and AI “take the guesswork out of workplace safety,” he says.

Executives like Fontain say AI is just another technological advancement for employees to step up to. And as the shift toward skill-based hiring increases, 82% of managers in the Salesforce survey cited skills as the most important attribute when evaluating applicants.

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Nguyen, who is now hiring director himself, says he looks at job candidates’ Trailhead accounts to see if they’re staying up to date with technology and are interested in learning new skills. “You always have to keep learning,” he says.