Companies are ready to invest more to recruit individuals equipped with the appropriate AI expertise

Businesses, hire, pay more, people, right AI skills

New data reveals that the demand for AI skills among UK businesses is on the rise. According to the Fiverr’s UK Future Workforce Index 2024 report, four in five UK businesses are willing to pay a higher wage to candidates with AI skills. This comes at a time when the world is grappling with a post-pandemic skills shortage, making it increasingly challenging for companies to find qualified individuals to fill their vacant positions.

The report found that businesses are willing to pay, on average, a 45% higher wage to candidates with the right AI skills, citing these skills as the most desirable. This indicates a growing recognition among employers of the value that AI expertise can bring to their organizations. As AI continues to play a pivotal role in various industries, companies are eager to access the potential that AI can unleash.

Interestingly, the report also highlights a shift away from traditional full-time employment, with the majority (93%) of businesses now looking for freelancers and self-employed workers. This trend aligns with the changing nature of work in the digital age, where remote work and flexible arrangements have become increasingly popular. Many businesses are recognizing the benefits of hiring skilled individuals on a freelance basis, allowing them to tap into a wider talent pool and obtain specialized skills on a project-by-project basis.

The findings of the report indicate a growing demand for AI skills in the UK job market. While AI content creation and ChatGPT remain popular skillsets, companies are now looking for more specific expertise, such as the ability to build AI chatbots. This shift reflects the increasing sophistication of AI technologies and the need for workers who can develop and leverage these capabilities.

Despite the high demand for AI skills, UK businesses are facing significant hiring barriers. Almost half (48%) of the decision-makers surveyed cited low-skilled talent as their main challenge when it comes to hiring. This highlights the need for financial incentives to attract a skilled workforce. In order to compete in the competitive AI job market, companies must be willing to offer competitive salaries and benefits in order to attract and retain top talent.

Furthermore, prospective employees are becoming increasingly discerning in their job search. After experiencing the flexibility and autonomy that remote work offered during the pandemic, job seekers now prioritize greater work flexibility (45%) and shorter working weeks (39%). This shift in employee expectations poses a challenge for employers who must adapt their work policies and offer more flexible arrangements in order to attract and retain the best talent.

Fiverr International Expansion Leader, Bukki Adedapo, commented on the findings, stating that more and more businesses are turning to highly skilled “solopreneurs” who are upskilling at a faster rate. This suggests that businesses are recognizing the benefits of hiring freelancers who possess specialized skills and can contribute value to their projects.

The report’s findings align with a separate report by BCS, which highlights funding challenges as a barrier to hiring efforts. According to the BCS report, two-thirds of businesses find digital apprenticeships effective in addressing the skills gap, but they require better financial incentives to make them work. This highlights the need for the government and organizations to invest in training and development programs that can equip individuals with the necessary AI skills.

Lucy Ireland, MD of Learning and Development at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, emphasized the importance of addressing the digital skills shortage and driving technological innovation. She stated, “The next government has a generational opportunity to prevent significant digital skills shortages and drive forward technological innovation.” This underscores the need for government intervention and support to address the skills gap and ensure that businesses have access to a skilled workforce.

In conclusion, the demand for AI skills in the UK job market is growing, with businesses willing to pay higher wages for candidates with AI expertise. This aligns with the changing nature of work, as more companies adopt flexible work arrangements and seek to tap into a broader talent pool of freelancers. However, businesses are also facing hiring barriers, such as a scarcity of low-skilled talent and increased expectations for work flexibility from prospective employees. Addressing these challenges will require financial incentives, investment in training programs, and government support to drive technological innovation and prevent digital skills shortages.

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