AWS Training and Certification Blog

New European study: AI skills will significantly boost productivity and salaries

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly reshaping the professional landscape and ushering in a new era of efficiency and innovation for all industries. This transformation is not only changing the tools that we use, but is also reshaping the way organizations are structured and everyday tasks are executed.

Access Partnership and Amazon Web Services (AWS) collaborated on a survey of over 6,500 employees and 2,000 employers across various sectors in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. Findings show that the speed of AI transformation is remarkable, with 86% of employers expecting to use AI-related tools by 2028.

The potential benefits are enormous: AI skills could boost productivity by at least 39%, and increase salaries by up to 30%. But in order to fully harness this potential, organizations will need to address the pressing gap in AI-specific skills in the workforce.

Today, professionals from all backgrounds are equipping themselves with the necessary digital skills to transform their careers. AWS has trained more than 1.2 million people across the European Union on cloud skills since 2017, and we continue to offer European learners the opportunity to accelerate their careers with new free AI skills training through the Amazon’s AI Ready initiative. This programme aims to empower two million individuals globally with free AI skills training by 2025 and is designed to help professionals and future generations prepare for the workplace of the future.

Here are five key insights from the study:

1. Universal adoption of AI in workplaces by 2028

By 2028, 86% of employers anticipate their organizations will be driven by AI. While most employers (82%) believe their IT departments will be the biggest beneficiary of AI, they believe other departments including finance (77%), research and development (78%), business operations (76%) and legal, regulatory, and compliance (69%) will reap benefits as well.

2. Close to 80% of employees plan to use generative AI tools within 5 years

Conversations around AI are increasingly focused on generative AI, which can help create new ideas and content in the form of conversations, stories, images, videos, music, and more. Close to 80% of employees anticipate using generative AI tools within the next five years to facilitate collaboration and increase innovation and creativity in the workplace. 46% of employees identified automating repetitive tasks to be the top benefit of generative AI followed by increasing innovation and creativity (43%) and improving workflow and outcomes such as better data analysis (39%).

3. Training in AI skills can increase salaries by up to 30%

AI offers significant value in making organizations more efficient and productive as well as in assisting with complex decision making, and employees who get training on how to use AI have opportunities to earn more. Employers are not only willing to pay an average of 30% more for AI-skilled workers in the IT department, but other departments, too: employers are willing to pay workers with AI skills a 29% higher salary in research and development, followed by sales and marketing (28%), finance (28%), business operations (27%), legal, regulatory, and compliance (24%), and human resources (24%).

Interest in AI skills isn’t limited only to young professionals: almost two-thirds (65%) of employees of all ages reported that they would be interested in developing AI skills, and 57% of employees aged 55 to 64, a demographic usually starting to think about retirement, say they would enroll in AI upskilling courses if employers offered them. This number increases to 61% in employees aged 65 to 74.

Employees aged 35 and older are most motivated by the desire to increase job efficiency, while younger employees between 18 to 34 years old are motivated by the desire to increase job security.

4. Non-tech talent will use AI to complete 29% of daily work

Organizations can save time and resources by automating tasks like generating reports, scheduling emails, and creating invoices, and use AI tools to obtain deeper insights into their company’s data without the need for time-consuming manual analysis.

Both employers and employees surveyed anticipate that AI will result in a significant productivity boost of at least 39%, and it’s not just tech workers who plan to use AI extensively in their work – non-tech workers expect to use AI to complete 29% of their daily tasks in five years.

5. Training and education programmes can help bridge the talent gap

60% of surveyed employers consider hiring talent with AI skills and experience a priority, but 81% of these employers can’t find the talent they need. Only 14% of workers believe they have advanced knowledge of AI, while 50% categorized themselves as having ‘basic’ or ‘nascent’ AI fluency. In short, the survey confirms that employers face an AI skills gap that can only be addressed through training and education programs.

Employers surveyed reported that the top barrier in providing AI skills training to employees is the lack of knowledge on how to implement an AI training program (72%) and a lack of understanding of employees’ AI skill needs (70%). For employees, top barriers to building AI skills include the lack of knowledge of the possible career paths where AI would be useful (66%), lack of knowledge of the AI skills training programs available (68%), and the lack of knowledge of the AI skills they require in their careers (64%).

Soft skills are increasingly in demand by employers and are necessary to use AI effectively. 51% of surveyed employers ranked critical thinking and complex problem solving amongst the top three most important skill required to use AI tools in 2028, followed by creative thinking and design at 47%.

Free AI training offers new skills and career opportunities

Soon, organizations of all sizes will be using AI tools on a daily basis. However, many employees indicate that their organizations do not provide adequate support for upskilling and education. People of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience can gain a competitive advantage with free AI skills training through the AI Ready initiative. To achieve the goal of empowering two million individuals with free AI skills training by 2025, Amazon launched a collaboration with, the AWS Generative AI Scholarship, and eight new free AI and generative AI courses that are open to anyone and aligned to in-demand jobs. (Additional resource: AWS Ramp-Up Guide: Generative AI)

These new initiatives remove cost as a barrier to accessing this critical knowledge, opening opportunities to employees today and inspiring future generations to explore the transformative potential of AI. The AI Ready initiative is in addition to AWS’ commitment to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million individuals by 2025. To date, this initiative has successfully trained over 21 million people for free.

Learn more about our AI and Generative AI courses.