By Corporate English Solutions

02 October 2023 - 15:34

Staying ahead in the age of Artificial Intelligence -  Upskilling and reskilling

In a world where artificial intelligence is revolutionising industries, unlocking new possibilities, and presenting both opportunities and challenges, cultivating the right skills is crucial. These skills aren't just about proficiency; they're the building blocks of success, the keys to thriving in a rapidly evolving AI-driven landscape. 

Explore the key future of work skills and where to focus your upskilling and reskilling initiatives – and give your organisation a competitive AI-advantage.


Reading time: 4 minutes

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) development on work as we know it is undeniable. AI automates routine tasks, optimises processes and enhances workers' capabilities. However, amidst the rise of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, which can boost productivity, there are skills artificial intelligence cannot replace—those that are uniquely human. 

These skills are the foundation for thriving in an AI-enabled workforce, according to a recent survey of HR managers. But there is the very real concern keeping some employees up at night: the fear of losing their jobs to AI and automation. Which makes them wary of embracing AI in the workplace.

So, how can organisations balance the need to nurture unique human skills while preparing for an AI-enabled future? Make reskilling and upskilling employees a strategic priority. 

That’s exactly what high-performing organisations are doing. In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, most organisations report they are committed to reskilling up to 30% of their workforce to drive AI adoption. But it’s crucial that organisations don’t forget about the distinctly human skills needed to fully maximise the potential of AI technologies. 

What skills should you prioritise for your skills gap analysis, skill development and skills assessments? Continue reading to discover the most critical skills your organisation needs to excel in an AI-enabled future.

1. Adaptability and learning agility

How to keep up with the fast-evolving world of AI? Having adaptable employees who can swiftly learn new tools and AI technologies gives your organisation a competitive edge. The ability to adapt to changing roles and quickly acquire new skills is essential for staying relevant.

2. Digital literacy

AI’s superpower lies in generating huge amounts of data. To harness this power, you need people proficient in statistics, data analytics, visualisation and data-driven decision-making. Digital literacy also involves being comfortable with a variety of digital tools, software and platforms. 

3. Human-AI collaboration

AI's true potential emerges when humans work seamlessly alongside AI systems. And for that, you need employees who know how to work together with AI technologies. They should understand how to effectively leverage AI's capacity to augment tasks, systems and processes.

4. AI delegation skills

Not all tasks are created equal. Employees must learn how to delegate specific tasks to AI systems to boost efficiency and scalability. Particularly AI automation of repetitive tasks, providing decision support and enabling autonomous operation. 

5. Creativity and innovation

AI excels in efficiency but it lacks the nuanced understanding that humans possess. Uniquely human traits like creativity and innovation are vital. In fact, we wouldn’t have AI technology without these two skills. 

These abilities allow us to conceptualise novel solutions, envision new opportunities and adapt to change, maximising AI development for business growth. Together, AI and human ingenuity can give your organisation a significant strategic advantage.

6. Critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making

AI systems are formidable in handling routine and data-driven tasks. However, we haven’t invented AI technologies that can match humans’ ability to navigate the complex, nuanced challenges that require critical thinking, innovative problem-solving and sound decision-making. These uniquely human skills are indispensable as AI takes on more routine tasks.

7. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Knowing how to utilise AI technologies is one thing. Maximising their potential goes beyond technical skills. Soft skills like EQ are essential for understanding and handling the emotional aspects of human-AI collaboration, creating a positive and productive work environment. EQ can help mitigate challenges related to employee resistance to AI adoption and alleviate concerns about job displacement in the workplace.

8. Effective communication skills

Without strong communication skills, human-AI collaboration would be very limited. How else can we ensure AI tasks are executed accurately and efficiently? Plus, effective communication is vital for giving feedback to AI developers and data scientists. Crucial for continuous improvement and AI development. 

9. Ethical awareness

As artificial intelligence is increasingly involved in decision-making that affects individuals and society, an AI-enabled workforce needs ethical awareness. Employees must be able to navigate ethical dilemmas and make moral judgments when working with AI – things like privacy and data protection. It’s the only way to ensure AI is used responsibly – especially when handling sensitive health care information.

10. Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

We can’t entrust cultural understanding to AI tools. Especially when these systems can inherit biases from the data they’re trained on. To avoid discrimination and exclusion in AI, organisations need employees with strong Cultural Intelligence (CQ). They will be critical for developing and implementing diverse and fair AI for an interconnected world.

Human skills are indispensable for an AI-enabled workforce

These skills collectively form the foundation of an AI-enabled workforce. They enable organisations to maximise the benefits of AI technologies while ensuring that the unique capabilities of humans remain at the forefront of innovation and critical thinking. 

In the second part of this series, we will delve into actionable strategies to cultivate these skills. And empower your organisation to thrive in the ever-evolving AI landscape. Stay tuned for valuable insights into building an AI-enabled future.

British Council has over 80 years’ experience of partnering with organisations and individuals in over 200 countries. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity with extensive insights into evolution of learning. Our holistic, research-driven approach to learning and assessment and forward-thinking industry leading solutions empower growth, positively impacting individuals and organisations. 

Partner with us to upskill your workforce in crucial skills and prepare them for an AI enabled future, through courses in English Language, Communication Skills, Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Intelligence.