The UK risks falling into an artificial intelligence skills gap, Microsoft said today, after it found most businesses in Britain use the technology less frequently and at a less advanced level.
The software giant said in its annual report that projects using AI in the UK has a higher failure rate — meaning they generate no commercial value — than the global average, coming it at 29 per cent versus 19 per cent.
Meanwhile only 17 per cent of UK employees said AI has been included in any training schemes offered by their company, far less than the global average of 38 per cent.
Thirty-five per cent of business leaders in the UK think there will be an AI skills gap within the next two years, while 28 per cent believe the country is already experiencing one.
“The most successful organisations will be the ones that transform both technically and culturally, equipping their people with the skills and knowledge to become the best competitive asset they have,” said Microsoft chief learning officer Simon Lambert.
“Human ingenuity is what will make the difference — AI technology alone will not be enough.”
The report surveyed more than 12,000 people in 20 countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, the US and Canada.
Microsoft said only half of British employees are using AI to work faster and smarter, compared to 69 per cent of staff globally.
Just 32 per cent of those surveyed in the UK said they feel their workplace is doing enough to prepare them for AI, below the global average of 42 per cent.
“Many companies struggle to move AI projects from proof of concept to production,” said Chris Withers, head of AI and advanced analytics for UK financial services at EY.
“To succeed, firms must put sufficient resources and expertise into educating employees, and help them to embrace new innovations, thereby creating champions for AI-enabled change.”