Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Sunday, May 19, 2024

Adastra Identifies Talent Gap as Major Challenge in AI Adoption and Data Analytics for 2024 

TORONTO, Jan. 25, 2024 -- For the second consecutive year, there continues to be a growing concern over the availability of skilled talent to fulfill the needs of the burgeoning field of AI and data analytics, according to the Adastra 2024 Data Professionals Market Survey Forecast. Overall, almost 77% of data professionals in Canada believe the shortage of talent will continue throughout 2024, a 13% increase over 2023 survey (68%). The same number increases to 83% when examining respondents currently working within a mid-size operation (Between 200-500 employees).

The adoption velocity of data analytics and AI has accelerated the widening talent gap in two specific areas: frontline workers, with the capacity to co-pilot new analytic tools, strategies and programs, and senior data analysts/data scientists who can co-ordinate these activities and continue to discover meaningful insights within a business framework.

“We have certainly observed a spike in data analytics activity across all verticals, leading to a growing backlog of both talent and project demand within IT departments.”, said Rahim Hajee, North American CEO, Adastra. “Along with the shortage of qualified talent, the challenge in many companies is converting legacy mindsets and synergizing processes. This includes citizen enablement through re-training, allowing more members of an organization to participate through a no-code or low-code software environment.”

Similar to the 2023 forecast results, 87% of respondents consider using data a competitive differentiator, while only 45% per cent of respondents believe more new jobs will be created because of AI in 2024(compared to 58% of respondents in the US who believe more jobs to be created in 2024).

“Most organizations have realized the importance of data to their functionality and bottom-line successes”, said Dmitry Krass, Academic Co-Director, Master of Management Analytics program at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management. “It is not the number of trained people that is a problem but rather the skills emphasized by the training. A data scientist without a strong focus on business and business processes cannot deliver value.”

In an era where work productivity continues to decline, 90% of respondents believe data optimization allows employers to redeploy staff to more meaningful and productive work. For those companies currently using ChatGPT or another LLM, a further 45% of Canadian respondents scored generative AI as higher than nine out of ten on the value matrix of whether Generative AI platforms are creating cost savings.

There will be a noticeable increase in spending and a continued push towards AI in 2024, as almost 76% of Canadian respondents will be spending more on data analytics this year, compared to 85% in the US. And almost 92% of respondents in all industries will do more with AI in 2024.

With new AI government regulations on the horizon, close to 63% of Canadian respondents are anticipating tighter controls and possible setbacks to AI developments compared to 72% of respondents in the US.

“There is no doubt that the global regulatory environment is about to change,” said Hajee. The challenge for organizations in 2024 is finding the balance between data privacy, AI regulations and new product developments. Having a sound governance model within an organization today will undoubtedly position them well for the upcoming year and beyond for future business growth.”

Close to 62% of respondents are using Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG), a process in which companies are often using proprietary information to enhance the customer experience via chatbot. Threat actors can repeatedly make queries if systems are not built with the proper protections, until they gain access to a company’s larger API. RAG, and other LLM vulnerabilities, are why 73% of respondents believe using LLM platforms creates a higher risk of a cybersecurity incident.

The online survey was conducted by Forum Research between December 12-16, 2023 and consisted of 898 IT professionals throughout Canada (327) and the United States (571) and is considered accurate +/- 3.3 percent 19 times out of 20. For complete survey results, including regional breakdowns, click here.

Other Survey Highlights

  • More than 3 in 4 respondents (75.5%) periodically use ChatGPT to create content for upcoming presentations.
  • 54% of respondents know other people within their organization generating code on ChatGPT (compared to 77% in the US).
  • 75% of Canadian respondents report that their organizations have invoked a watermark policy identifying the source of all content created using an LLM platform (compared to 90% of US respondents).
  • 52% of respondents believe they are woefully behind their competitors regarding data analytics, up slightly from 51% in 2023.
  • Over three-quarters (78%) of the survey respondents believe the public remains fearful of the impact AI may have on society.
  • 85% of respondents believe AI works best as a tool within the broader context of a data analytics strategy.
  • 43% of respondents strongly agree that incorporating Gen AI platforms is a leading competitive advantage for their company (ranked it 9 or 10 when asked on a scale of 1-10) a number that expands to 57% of respondents in large enterprise operations with more than 1,000 employees.

About Adastra

For over two decades, Adastra Corporation has transformed businesses into digital leaders, helping global organizations innovate, achieve operational excellence, and create unforgettable customer experiences, all with the power of their data. At the forefront of Artificial Intelligence, Data, Cloud, Digital and Governance services, Adastra delivers solutions to enterprises to leverage data they can control and trust, connecting them to their customers – and their customers to the world.

Source: Adastra