Reskill or Become Obsolete: How AI is Forcing 40% of Workers to Learn New Skills Fast

Amir Naceur
10 min readSep 3, 2023


Article Illustrations by Matt Chinworth on Behance

In an era marked by rapid advancements in automation and artificial intelligence (AI), the concept of augmented work has emerged as a transformative force in the business landscape. Augmented work refers to the strategic collaboration between humans and machines, harnessing the power of AI to amplify productivity and deliver exponential business value. Recognizing the importance of this paradigm shift, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) has conducted an insightful report on augmented work for an automated, AI-driven world.

The IBV report provides invaluable insights into the implications of AI and automation on job roles, skills, and the overall workforce landscape. By delving deep into the challenges and opportunities presented by the AI revolution, the report offers organizations a roadmap to navigate the changing dynamics of work and unlock new levels of performance.

The purpose of this article is to delve into the key findings of the IBV report on augmented work and shed light on their significant implications for organizations. By exploring the statistics, trends, and recommendations presented in the report, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of how businesses can embrace the AI revolution and leverage the augmented workforce to drive success in a rapidly evolving world. From reskilling strategies to strategic work structuring and the importance of human-machine partnerships, we will explore various talking points that can empower organizations to thrive in the age of automation and AI.

The AI Revolution and Its Implications

The recent surge of AI and automation are reshaping traditional business models, creating both disruption and opportunity. According to the predictions of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the implementation of AI is expected to have a significant impact on the job market. The WEF estimates that between 2020 and 2025, 85 million jobs globally will be disrupted, while simultaneously creating 97 million new job roles. This radical shift signifies the magnitude of the transformation we are experiencing — an age of unprecedented change where adapting to AI becomes imperative.

Today, organizations and individuals must recognize the transformative power of AI. It is not merely a technological tool but a catalyst for innovation and efficiency. The IBV report highlights the need for a comprehensive understanding of AI’s implications to proactively navigate the evolving landscape. By embracing AI technologies and leveraging their potential, organizations can gain a competitive edge and drive sustainable growth.

One key finding from the report is the projected need for reskilling due to AI implementation. The IBV study reveals that executives estimate around 40% of their workforce will need to reskill within the next three years. This statistic underscores the urgency for individuals and organizations to adapt to the changing demands of the AI-driven world. Failing to do so may result in being left behind, as those who embrace AI and acquire the necessary skills will rise to the forefront of the transformed job market.

Moreover, the IBV report emphasizes the importance of organizations understanding the breadth of AI’s impact, transcending individual job roles. It highlights the significance of strategic planning and structural evolution within organizations to fully harness the potential of AI. Businesses must embrace AI not only as a tool for automation but also as a driver of innovation, productivity, and new business models.

The Augmented Workforce: Human-Machine Partnerships

The concept of the augmented workforce represents a fundamental shift in how humans and machines collaborate to drive productivity and business value. Rather than replacing job roles entirely, generative AI is expected to augment and enhance human capabilities, resulting in a more symbiotic relationship between humans and machines.

IBM’s study reveals compelling findings that support the idea of augmented work. According to the report, job roles will be augmented, not replaced, by generative AI. On average, 87% of executives expect their job roles to be augmented by AI, highlighting the growing recognition of AI’s potential to enhance human performance. This statistic showcases a shift in mindset, with organizations acknowledging the coexistence of humans and machines as a path to increased productivity and efficiency.

Several industries are expected to witness a significant impact from AI integration. The IBV report identifies key sectors where the influence of AI is projected to be substantial. In marketing, approximately 73% of executives expect job roles to be augmented by AI, emphasizing the potential for AI to enhance targeting, personalization, and customer engagement. Customer service is another industry where three-quarters of executives (77%) anticipate job roles being augmented by AI, enabling more efficient and personalized customer interactions. Furthermore, in procurement, an astounding 97% of executives foresee AI augmenting job roles, streamlining supplier management, and optimizing supply chain operations. Other industries, such as risk and compliance (93%) and finance (93%), also anticipate significant augmentation, leveraging AI to enhance decision-making, mitigate risks, and improve financial analyses.

The Skills Gap and Reskilling Imperative

The technological breathroughs in AI and automation has led to a widening global skills gap, posing challenges for both organizations and individuals. The IBV report highlights the urgency of addressing this gap, as 40% of the workforce will need to reskill within the next three years due to AI implementation.

Organizations face the challenge of identifying the skills required to thrive in an AI-driven job market. The report emphasizes the need for strategic workforce planning and reskilling initiatives to bridge the skills gap effectively. Upskilling employees to become proficient in AI technologies and related fields is crucial to harnessing the power of AI and ensuring organizational competitiveness.

For individuals, reskilling and acquiring new skills are imperative to remain relevant in the evolving job market. The IBV study underscores the importance of continuous learning and adaptability. By developing skills that complement and enhance AI technologies, individuals can position themselves for new opportunities and drive their career growth. Furthermore, the report highlights the need for a broader skill set beyond technical expertise, emphasizing the growing importance of soft skills, critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence in an AI-driven world.

Strategies for Success in the AI Era

In the era of AI, organizations must adopt strategic approaches to work structuring and operating models to thrive amidst the transformative power of technology. The IBV report emphasizes the importance of aligning work structures with AI capabilities to unlock productivity and drive success.

One key strategy is to invest in technology that enables employees to focus on higher-value tasks. By automating repetitive and mundane tasks through AI, organizations can free up valuable time for employees to engage in more strategic and creative endeavors. This not only enhances productivity but also allows employees to tap into their full potential, leading to increased job satisfaction and motivation.

Building effective human-machine partnerships is another critical element for success. Organizations must foster collaboration between humans and AI systems, recognizing the unique strengths and capabilities of each. By leveraging the complementary skills of humans and machines, organizations can achieve higher levels of value creation, innovation, and problem-solving. This collaborative approach also contributes to employee engagement, as individuals feel empowered by the technology that amplifies their skills and expertise.

The Future of Work: Adapting to Change

The future of work is undergoing a profound transformation due to AI, impacting job roles and organizational levels. The IBV report reveals that AI is not only reshaping traditional job roles but also influencing the skills required at different organizational levels.

As AI takes on more routine and repetitive tasks, the skills landscape is shifting towards a greater emphasis on people skills. While technical expertise remains important, skills such as emotional intelligence, creativity, critical thinking, and adaptability are gaining prominence. These human-centric skills are difficult to replicate by AI systems, making them highly valuable and sought after in the AI-driven job market.

To adapt to the evolving talent landscape, organizations must build a flexible structure that embraces agility and continuous learning. This includes fostering a culture of learning and development, providing employees with opportunities to acquire new skills and stay ahead of the curve. Organizations should also encourage cross-functional collaboration, enabling employees to gain diverse experiences and broaden their skill sets.

The Importance of Reskilling

Adapting to the Changing Landscape:

As this wave of automation transforms the job landscape, workers must adapt their skills accordingly. Developing technical skills to work alongside AI will become critical. Professionals will also need to focus on uniquely human strengths like creativity, emotional intelligence and problem solving.

Enhancing Employability:

Without reskilling, many displaced workers may struggle to find new employment. A 2019 World Economic Forum report found it takes displaced manufacturing workers over 4 years on average to return to prior income levels. Reskilling can help shorten this transition.

Staying Competitive in the Job Market:

Job seekers will need to showcase how they can add value in an AI-driven economy. With more employers seeking AI and digital skills, reskilling will be key to staying competitive. Workers who embrace reskilling will have a distinct advantage.

Identifying Reskilling Opportunities

Assessing Your Skills Gap

The first step is identifying abilities required for your dream role that you currently lack. Reviewing job descriptions and speaking with professionals in your desired field can reveal useful insights.

Exploring In-Demand Skills

1- Data Science and Analytics
With businesses relying on data-driven decisions, skills in data science, analytics and business intelligence are highly sought after. Learning tools like Python, SQL and data visualization can open up opportunities.

2- AI Development and Engineering
Specialized AI skills such as machine learning, natural language processing and robotics will be crucial for building the AI systems of tomorrow. Having hands-on experience with AI frameworks like TensorFlow and PyTorch is a plus.

3- Cybersecurity
As technology expands, cybersecurity skills will be required to defend systems and data. Certifications like the CompTIA Security+ credential can get your foot in the door.

4- Soft Skills (e.g., Critical Thinking, Communication)
While technical skills are essential, soft skills like communication, creativity and emotional intelligence will remain valuable in an AI-driven world.

Leveraging Online Learning Platforms

Many free and low-cost resources for reskilling exist online. MOOCs from Coursera, Udacity and edX offer affordable courses from top universities in cutting-edge subjects. YouTube tutorials and skill-specific platforms like Udemy and DataCamp are another option.

Considering Formal Education (e.g., Certifications, Degrees)

Formal degrees and credentials can also provide job-ready skills. Professional certifications, coding bootcamps, and online degrees in technology fields may be worth the investment if aligned with your career goals.

Strategies for Successful Reskilling

Setting Clear Goals

Define what roles you’re targeting and the precise skills required so you can tailor your learning accordingly. Setting SMART goals can keep you focused and motivated.

Creating a Personalized Learning Plan

A structured plan mapping out what you’ll learn and when will ensure you make steady progress. Build in accountability by sharing your plan and goals with a mentor or peer group.

Time Management and Consistency

Consistent practice and dedicating time daily or weekly is key — even 15–30 minutes. Schedule study time and treat it with the same focus as a work commitment.

Building a Professional Network

A broad network in your industry provides support and surfaces job opportunities. Attend conferences and events or join professional associations to connect with the community.

Seeking Mentorship and Guidance

A mentor working in your desired field can offer invaluable advice and perspective. They may also be willing to review your portfolio or connect you to hiring managers.

Showcasing Your Reskilled Abilities

Updating Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Craft an updated resume highlighting your new skills and any projects built. Ensure your LinkedIn also reflects new proficiencies, courses and credentials.

Building a Portfolio

Assemble a portfolio with concrete examples demonstrating applied skills in areas like data analytics, programming and data visualization.

Navigating Interviews with Confidence

Be ready to discuss specifics — what new skills you’ve learned, key projects completed and how you’re keeping your abilities sharp. Show passion for continuous learning.

By leveraging these tools and technologies, individuals can actively reskill and upskill, thereby remaining competitive and adaptable in the face of evolving job market demands.


Ultimately, the report highlights several key insights that underscore the importance of embracing AI and reskilling to thrive in the AI era.

Firstly, it emphasizes that AI will augment job roles rather than replace them, creating an augmented workforce where humans and machines collaborate for increased productivity and efficiency. This shift requires individuals and organizations to recognize the symbiotic relationship between humans and AI systems.

Secondly, the widening skills gap poses a significant challenge, necessitating reskilling efforts to bridge the gap. Both individuals and organizations must invest in continuous learning and adaptability to stay relevant in the rapidly evolving job market. Technical skills remain important, but there is a growing emphasis on people skills such as creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

The report reinforces the need for individuals and organizations to proactively acquire AI skills and embrace continuous learning. By leveraging online learning platforms, industry certifications, mentorship, and cross-functional collaborations, individuals can enhance their expertise and remain competitive. Organizations should invest in technology that enables employees to focus on higher-value tasks, foster human-machine partnerships, and provide opportunities for upskilling through internal training programs.

In the end, individuals and organizations must actively participate in the augmented workforce. By acquiring AI skills, embracing continuous learning, and adapting to the changing nature of work, both individuals and organizations can unlock the full potential of AI and thrive in the AI era. The future belongs to those who proactively seize the opportunities presented by AI and become active contributors to the augmented workforce.

List of Refs used:

IBM Institute for Business Value, Augmented work for an automated, AI-driven world, 2023



Amir Naceur

Obsessed with exploring the intersections of technology, culture, and human behavior. Follow me for insights and thought-provoking perspectives. #inspiration🫀