Artificial intelligence, digital marketing, and design thinking to be top skills to drive future growth: Survey

Artificial intelligence

A survey amongst 307 corporates, ranging from SMEs to large corporates, highlights that tech upskilling in skills like artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital marketing and design thinking is crucial for boosting their organizational performance. Conducted by Great Learning, the survey aimed to find out the top skills that organizations will need to drive future growth and how they plan to bridge the impending skill deficit amongst their ranks.

55% have an employee base of 100+, while 27% of the companies that participated in the survey have an employee base of more than 1000. Inspite of the increased awareness around upskilling, the survey found that 47% of the companies have still not assigned budgets for upskilling their workforce.

Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder, Great Learning said: “The technology skill gap among employees is one of the biggest challenges that organizations in India are beset with. While it is encouraging to see that a majority of companies are aware of the need for upskilling, the time to act is now. Skilled employees will continue to be the biggest asset for any organization going ahead and while options like lateral hiring and outsourcing may help in the short term, from a cost and effectiveness point of view, upskilling is the best way to stay competitive in the long run.”

Tech upskilling key to boosting organizational performance

An overwhelming majority of the corporates opined that upskilling plays a key role in boosting their organisation’s performance. 78% of the companies said further learning and skilling opportunities for employees are instrumental in boosting organisational performance.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital marketing, and design thinking top three skills to drive future growth, followed by IoT, RPA and NLP

As per the survey, 25% of all companies believe artificial intelligence and machine Learning (AI/ML) are the most crucial skills needed to ensure an organisation’s future growth. Digital marketing emerged second with 19% finding it most crucial. It was followed by Design Thinking, which 10% of companies indicated as most important. Apart from these, skills related to Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), and natural language processing/generation (NLP/NLG) each garnered around 5 percent votes.

Most organisations looking to beat the talent deficit by hiring and upskilling; some looking to outsource

40% companies said that they are looking to bridge the tech talent gap by upskilling their current workforce, while 37% are using hiring to make up for the demand and supply gap. Interestingly, 22% companies are hoping to beat the talent gap by outsourcing these roles.

Almost half of the organisations surveyed are yet to assign a budget to their upskilling exercise

47% of the surveyed companies are yet to assign a budget for upskilling. The rest of the 53% said that they have set aside a budget for employee tech upskilling.  When it comes to the size of the upskilling budgets, as per the survey, close to 30% organisations spend more than a lakh per employee per annum on upskilling. In fact, around 14% (43 companies) spend more than Rs. 3 lakh per employee per annum for tech upskilling.

Most tech upskilling programmes are driven and funded by the company

Around 50% companies said that their tech upskilling programmes are either entirely or partially driven and funded by the company. Another 22% said these were driven by employees but either partially or fully reimbursed by the company. On the other hand, in 27% of the cases upskilling programmes were entirely up to the employee to drive and fund.