There is a vital human skills gap when it comes to maximising the potential of AI and cloud, with almost all organisations recognising that they have to prioritise workforce upskilling.

This is among the findings from SoftwareOne’s Cloud Skills Report, which highlights the need to bridge the human-machine divide.

The biggest pain point for companies in their digital transformation efforts is ensuring employee skills growth matches the rapid rate of innovation. Nearly two-thirds (62%) report currently having inadequate skills to leverage AI and 41% of organisations are struggling to find AI skilled employees.

The research underscores a pressing reality: prioritising close collaboration between human workers and advanced technologies is paramount amidst a widening cloud skills gap and apprehension around AI. This symbiotic relationship is set to redefine organisational dynamics, with 97% of organisations planning to prioritise upskilling their workforce according to the research.

The cloud skills shortage has increased the individual workloads of 62% of respondents, and led to significant repercussions, including burnout and high turnover rates within departments. Notably, almost a quarter of global IT managers (23%) are contemplating quitting due to the skills gap, while a staggering 84% of companies perceive IT retention issues as a significant challenge.

But these retention issues are compounded by conflicts within teams. 34% of respondents said that the cloud skills gap has caused tension between themselves and their boss, while 42% say it has caused tension within the team. And one in five (22%) of respondents said they don’t feel comfortable asking for additional training to advance their skills.

“Rapid advancements in AI and generative AI offer exciting prospects for companies worldwide, but organisations are sitting on a ticking talent time bomb if they don’t upskill and retrain their workforces now to fulfil the potential of AI,” says Brian Duffy, CEO of SoftwareOne. “Our research shows the overwhelming majority of organisations are planning to upskill their IT teams in order to fast-track AI adoption and accelerate the cloud journey.

“By putting people at the centre and showcasing how these innovations can enhance their roles rather than pose threats, organisations can cultivate a culture of empowerment and optimism that helps to increase retention, boost productivity and make work more meaningful.”