Talent Gap Remains a Large Concern as More Organizations Embrace Data Analytics and Now Must Reconsider Their Deployment and Retraining Strategies

Advances in AI will lead to a surge in 2024 spending, according to US Market Survey Forecast of IT professionals


NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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 76% of data professionals in the United States believe the shortage of talent will continue throughout 2024, a number which increases to 82% of respondents currently working within a larger enterprise operation (More than 1,000 employees). This continued concern is slightly higher regionally for both the West and Northeast at 78%.

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 needs 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 retraining, allowing more members of an organization to participate through a no-code or low-code software environment.”

Similar to the 2023 forecast results, 88% of respondents consider using data as a competitive differentiator, while 58 percent of respondents believe more new jobs will be created because of AI in 2024, led regionally by the Northeast, where 67% of respondents believe more new jobs are on the horizon.

“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, 96% 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, 47% of 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 85% of respondents will be spending more on data analytics this year, led regionally by the Northeast (92%) and followed by the South (85%), West (82%), and Midwest (81%) markets. And almost 95% of respondents in all industries will do more with AI in 2024.

With new AI government regulations on the horizon, close to 72% of respondents are anticipating tighter controls and possible setbacks to AI developments, with an even higher number (76%) in larger enterprise operations (more than 1,000 employees).

“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.”

An overwhelmingly 86% 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 70% of respondents believe using LLM platforms creates a higher risk of a cybersecurity incident, with 82% of larger enterprise respondents believing the same.

The online survey was conducted by Forum Research between December 12-16, 2023 and consisted of 589 IT professionals throughout the United States and is considered accurate +/- 3.3 percent 19 times out of 20. For complete survey results, including regional breakdowns here.

Other Survey Highlights

  • More than 4 in 5 respondents (88.1%) periodically use ChatGPT to create content for upcoming presentations.
  • 77% of respondents know other people within their organization generating code on ChatGPT.
  • 90% of respondents report that their organizations have invoked a watermark policy identifying the source of all content created using an LLM platform.
  • 54% of respondents believe they are woefully behind their competitors regarding data analytics, down from 65% in 2023, illustrating that the continued move towards data analytics is positively impacting the competitive landscape, but it still has a way to go.
  • Close to three-quarters (74.5%) of the survey respondents believe the public remains fearful of the impact AI may have on society.
  • Correspondingly, 2 in 5 respondents (42%) from the Northeast expect AI will greatly impact their organization over the next five years.
  • 92% of respondents believe AI works best as a tool within the broader context of a data analytics strategy.
  • 50% 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).

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.

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