Skills Intelligence Publication

The field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has experienced remarkable growth and transformation in recent years, revolutionizing various industries and shaping the future of technology. The growth of AI has been nothing short of exponential, driven by advancements in computing power, availability of big data, and breakthroughs in machine learning algorithms. AI has the potential to significantly impact a large range of different roles and functions across industries as AI systems are now capable of performing complex tasks that were once exclusively in the domain of human intelligence.

The AI market is expanding rapidly, with predictions suggesting that it will reach unprecedented levels in the coming years. The growth of AI presents numerous opportunities for organizations to innovate, improve efficiency, and deliver new services. However, it also raises important considerations regarding ethics, transparency, and responsible AI development. Recognizing the transformative potential of AI, the European Union has taken significant steps to shape the development, deployment, and regulation of AI technologies. The EU’s policy initiatives aim to ensure ethical and trustworthy AI while fostering innovation and competitiveness. Artificial intelligence should identify biases and educate people about equality, regardless of race, color, origin, gender, age, language, religion, political opinion, economic or social status of birth or disability, or any other basis protected by human rights

In the context of the EU-funded ARISA project, the “AI Skills Needs Analysis Report” aims at gaining a comprehensive understanding of the skills required in AI on the European market. The report is meant to set the basis for the AI Skills Strategy for Europe that will be developed in the next phase of the ARISA project and that will provide a response to the identified skills needs. 

The main takeaways of this needs analysis provide the starting point for the discussion on the AI skills strategy. The main conclusions on roles with need for AI skills are:

  • The AI practitioners‘ roles that are needed most are data scientists, data engineers and especially machine learning engineers including NLP engineers and computer vision engineers.
  • An emerging role that requires urgent attention is prompt engineer.
  • AI management & support roles are also emerging with the most foreseen need for AI strategists, AI ethics officers and AI quality controller.
  • Organisational decision-makers like business leaders and middle management, and policymakers all need basic AI knowledge and skills.
  • Policy- and decision-makers rely on AI advisors that combine deeper AI knowledge and skills with expertise on policy or business.
  • These findings can feed the ESCO occupational roles by suggesting to add (or amend) roles

The main conclusions on the skills needs of AI professionals and the need for AI skills of policy- and decision-makers are:

  • Each AI professional role (e.g., data scientist, machine learning engineer) has its own specific set of technical skills that can also be different based on the specific context of the AI professional.
  • Each AI professional role also needs a set of skills on transversal topics (e.g., ethics, security), soft skills (e.g., problem solving), and skills on functioning in organisations.
  • Policy- and decision-makers need basic AI knowledge and skills including basis terminology & practice, AI ethics, and law & regulations.
  • AI advisors need AI advisory skills covering e.g., AI risk management, AI compliance, AI strategy, and implementing AI.
  • Both basic AI knowledge & skills and AI advisory skills need urgent attention for Europe to move forward in the field of AI.