Amid an uncertain job market and cost-of-living worries, employers can harness the benefits of artificial intelligence to help employees with reskilling and career development, says Candy Ho, professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and board chair at non-profit organization CERIC.

“I think we’ve got a huge opportunity ahead of us with AI and, not jobs being replaced, but tasks within the jobs being replaced by AI and automation. It’s a really exciting time for employers to take a look at the jobs within their organizations and [consider] what responsibilities AI can help with. For example, ‘How can I elevate some of these positions in order to enrich the job for my current employees, so they don’t feel stagnant?’

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Indeed, an August 2023 global study by the IBM Institute for Business Value found Canadian executives believed 42 per cent of the workforce would need to reskill as they adopt generative AI in their businesses over the next three years. Notably, Canadian respondents ranked technology illiteracy as a top talent issue, which also ranked second among global executives.

In addition, more than half (58 per cent) of Canadian executives reported investing in reskilling internally as opposed to hiring from outside (43 per cent). This is why employees should continually have career progression discussions with their employers and come up with their own professional development learning plan, adds Ho.

In terms of reskilling and upskilling, AI itself is going to become a skill and competency for people in many different industries. However, they’ll need to be an expert in their field, first and foremost, so they understand how AI can be integrated into their field.

Read: Canadian employees have mixed emotions about impact of AI on career, skills: survey

“For instance, I’m a professor in career development so a big part of that is helping students by incorporating AI in my teaching and learning. Instead of fearing it [and worrying whether] students are plagiarizing using AI, I want to show them how to ethically use [it] as a tool. It’s not only helping me develop my competencies, but it’s helping to show students what it’s like to leverage AI in their future at work.”

There are also many ways job seekers can use AI tools to help them find the right job, says Ho. AI tools such as ‘job scan’ allow people to upload a copy of the job posting and their resume and then it gives a percentage out of 100 regarding how well the resume matches the job description.

“Look back at the last year and consider some of the hot topics at work that you were curious about and then see if there’s alignment with professional development and upskilling. The idea is to make a case the employer can’t refuse because they know it’s good for your growth and good for the organization.”

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