Artificial Intelligence

East Midlands at risk of falling behind the AI curve

12th April 2024
Sheryl Miles

Workers across the East Midlands reported the second highest level of concern over AI’s impact on their job, surpassed only by London.

That’s according to the latest Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index (JCI) – an economic confidence tracker produced in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

Over a third (35%) of professionals across the East Midlands reported that they were concerned as to the impact that artificial intelligence would have on their job in the next 12 months, above the national average of 31%. This level increases in longer term forecasts, with almost half (48%) raising concerns for the next six to ten years.

This news comes at a time when the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has released new data which suggests that up to eight million jobs are at risk in the UK due to AI.

Despite this level of concern, only a handful (21%) of workers in the region revealed plans to proactively seek AI related training themselves in the next two years. This is one of the lowest levels recorded across the UK and is below the national average of 28%. When compared with London – where over a third (35%) of staff are investing in their own training – the levels reported in the East Midlands suggest the region could be falling behind the AI curve.

The data also revealed that more workers in the region are hoping their employer will manage their AI skills development in the next two years, with a quarter (25%) stating that they expect their firm to plan for (and provide) AI training.

Dan Atkins, Branch Director, Midlands at Robert Half, commented: “Generative AI holds the potential to boost profitability and operational efficiency for businesses in the East Midlands. And this new technology will inevitably have a profound impact on the future of jobs in the region, yet not all roles will be affected at the same pace. Certain knowledge worker jobs will become more efficient by the augmentation of task output, while others will likely be completely automated, even replaced, while entirely new types of roles will be created too.

“In any case, for more workers to prosper in the new digital economy and for businesses to make the most of this new technology era, it all comes down to acquiring the necessary AI skills. And whether due to a lack of awareness, initiative, or finances, it is concerning to see that workers in the East Midlands are among the least likely to proactively seek AI training and development opportunities in the country.

“Nonetheless, it is not only down to the individual employee to figure it out. Businesses, education institutions, industry bodies and policy makers do need to work together to ensure no-one is left behind due to a lack of awareness or access to training as AI’s impact on jobs gains momentum.

“AI is going to impact us all both personally and professionally, and I would encourage everyone, regardless of experience and job role, to proactively approach generative artificial intelligence with curiosity and seek ways to gain the relevant skills to secure their future employability and be better prepared to navigate the future of work with confidence.”

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