New data suggest Welsh employees more focused on AI skills development

Workers across Wales are more likely to invest in their own AI training in the next five years than any other region in the UK, but few fear that this technology will replace their job.

That’s according to the Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index (JCI) – an economic confidence tracker produced in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

The latest iteration of the report shows that 62% of Welsh workers are funding their own training in relation to artificial intelligence over the next five years, the highest recorded percentage across the UK. A further 59% are planning on re-training and moving into a role or field that is more AI focused in the next five years – the greatest level of all regions and well above the national average of 40%.

Skills development driven by opportunities rather than fear

According to the data, unlike other regions such as London – where concerns over AI’s impact on careers is rife – Welsh employees aren’t being driven to develop artificial intelligence skills for fear of losing their jobs.

Just under a third of employees across Wales are concerned that AI will disrupt their career in the next year, compared to 49% of Londoners. While this does increase as we look further afield – with 40% of Welsh employees concerned about AI’s impact on their job in the next three to five years – this still remains well below London’s figure of 61%.

While Welsh employees may not be the most concerned about the rise of artificial intelligence, the data suggests they are the most dedicated to improving their AI skills than any other location in the UK, suggesting that Wales could become the new AI skills hub. This coincides with recent reports that Microsoft is planning to invest £2.5bn in artificial intelligence data centres in South Wales.

James Fortnam, Market Director Wales, Ireland & Scotland, at Robert Half, commented: “There’s no doubt that AI is going to have a long-term impact on skills and jobs in the UK and that is creating a level of apprehension for some employees. However, while this is seemingly driving some workers to upskill and retrain, in Wales there appears to be a more natural desire from talent pools to improve their AI knowledge. The fact that almost two-thirds are planning to invest in their own training despite just 30% of workers being concerned that AI will impact their job is rather encouraging. And with so many planning to move into a new field that is more centred around artificial intelligence, it’s looking likely that Wales holds the potential to soon become a prime location for AI skills.”

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