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UK AI skills gap deepened by demand for bespoke solutions

AI skills gap
Image: Adobe Stock / Shuo

Research from Rackspace Technology suggests that the AI skills gap is being widened by demand for in-house, bespoke artificial intelligence.

The study, which surveyed UK IT leaders, indicated that the majority of organisations were looking to build AI solutions from scratch, with just 10% choosing off-the-shelf options.

The result is a rising demand for AI skills, with 86% of respondents seeking to hire people with AI and Machine Learning (ML) expertise – the latter being the most difficult to recruit.

Over half of respondents had included AI and ML as part of their current business strategy, with 71% of companies reporting a benefit to their operations thanks to AI and ML. Those with already implemented AI and ML solutions reported a positive impact on revenue (74%), the ability to reduce expenses (69%), brand reputation (69%) and brand awareness (70%).

Significantly, 87% of those questioned reported that they were dedicating more than 6% of their annual IT budget to AI and ML initiatives in 2022 – a 55% increase on those that committed that proportion of their budget in 2021.

Simon Bennett, CTO, EMEA at Rackspace Technology, commented, “Many organisations are moving into the next stage of maturity for their AI implementations to drive real return on investment, and we are seeing this reflected in the more prominent role AI plays in business and IT strategies. But this shift means that the use of AI is no longer a competitive advantage. It is a case of move now or be left behind.

“To help increase the understanding of AI and ML, many leaders are investing in internal upskilling programmes. But, companies should not only look at what dedicated skills they can hire into their organisation, but consider where trusted partners can offer expertise and experience to support as these initiatives grow in frequency and importance.”

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