“With more companies moving full speed ahead toward an AI-driven workplace, leaders are faced with an important decision: Embrace AI or be left behind.” — Andy Morgan, Head of edX for Business.
There is a supply and demand imbalance when it comes to AI in the workplace. Employers report having trouble finding the AI skills they need, but workers report having trouble finding AI skills training. These are just two of the findings in the Navigating the Workplace in the Age of AI Report, a survey of 800 knowledge workers and 800 C-suite executives across the US, conducted by edX, a global online learning platform, and Workplace Intelligence, a research firm.
Additional findings highlight the importance of AI in future career planning:
- 77% of C-level survey respondents say AI is disrupting their business strategy;
- 82% of C-level survey respondents believe workers skilled at using AI should be paid more;
- 74% of C-level survey respondents believe workers skilled at using AI should be promoted more often.
If you want to stay relevant to your company’s strategy, as well as put yourself in line for raises and promotions, here are five ways to incorporate AI into your career plans.
1 – Find opportunities within your company to learn and use AI skills
More than half of the knowledge workers surveyed (59%) are already using AI in their work, so if your department isn’t using it, you may be able to make a lateral move elsewhere in the company where AI is more prevalent. If you can’t change departments, see if you can get assigned to a cross-functional project where you can at least get some temporary exposure. Look into employee resource groups to see if they are doing any AI-related programming.
2 – If you have to go outside for AI exposure, look into tuition benefits
If your company doesn’t have a lateral opportunity, temporary project or in-house programming to give you AI training or experience, check if you can be reimbursed for outside learning and development. Even if your company doesn’t have an official tuition reimbursement policy, your manager may approve a one-time learning stipend to attend a conference, take a class or get a certification, especially if you can point to the training’s relevance to your job. You could offer to summarize your learning for the team, if your manager needs convincing.
3 – Consider an AI-based side hustle or part-time job
One surprising finding in the Navigating the Workplace in the Age of AI Report is that 82% of executives surveyed said employees should be allowed to use AI to work multiple jobs! If you develop a side hustle or find a part-time job that uses AI, you can earn extra money and make yourself more marketable.
4 – Create hands-on learning opportunities in the broader AI space
In addition to a side hustle or second job, there are other ways to advance your career outside of your job with the specific goal to incorporating more AI into your work. Get active with a professional association dedicated to AI. Subscribe to AI-focused newsletters, and curate content on your social media platforms to force yourself to digest and summarize news and trends. If you have general business skills that could be attractive to start-ups, pitch your advisory services (even pro bono) to AI-focused start-ups.
5 – Look at job opportunities that will provide hands-on experience
If your company is behind on AI and you have exhausted non-work opportunities to boost your AI background, you may have to switch companies to get on-the-job AI experience. Marc Cenedella, founder of Leet Resumes and The Ladders, advises job candidates new to AI to emphasize their enthusiasm for AI and emerging technologies. In a new field, potential employers have to be more open-minded about candidate requirements. (See more tips on making your resume more attractive for AI roles.)
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