9 in 10 APAC firms mull upskilling amid strong AI impact

About nine in every 10 (91%) of companies in the Asia-Pacific region plan to enhance their people’s skills and abilities this year as skills needed for a job are seen surging by 68% by 2030 due to the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), according to research by LinkedIn.

Conducted by Censuswide, the study covered a sample of 4323 hiring managers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States, India, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, China, The Netherlands, Sweden, MENA (Middle East and North Africa), and Brazil. Data was collected between December 15, 2023 and January 4, 2024.

Findings show that the top five skills that hiring managers in APAC consider the most important in the era of AI are a combination of both hard and soft skills – problem-solving abilities (35%), communications skills (27%), critical thinking (25%), AI skills (19%) and IT & web skills (17%). 

Feon Ang, LinkedIn managing director in APAC, said that in the past year, the narrative was dominated by technological advancements, particularly the integration of AI into business workflows. 

Ang said the resulting surge in demand for AI expertise reflected the challenges many businesses faced in navigating this transformative shift and incorporating cutting-edge technologies into their operations. 

“However, we are now witnessing a pronounced shift towards skills – both technical and soft skills – to thrive in the era of AI,” she said. “Investing in people’s growth is no longer a perk but a strategic imperative, considering that our workforce is the driving force behind companies’ success in an era shaped by both AI innovation and collaboration with AI.” 

Among employers, 88% have observed substantial changes in the skills and qualifications they prioritise in job candidates due to the pervasive impact of AI and automation in their industries. 

Companies are placing emphasis on candidates who possess not only AI expertise, but also soft skills and a capacity for learning. 

Also, 94% of learning and development (L&D) professionals in APAC believe that human skills are increasingly becoming the most competitive in our economy. In particular, “communication” has topped LinkedIn’s most in-demand skills list for 2024 across all countries in APAC – Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and Singapore. 

In addition, 40% of APAC hiring managers consider an individual’s potential for growth and ability to learn as the most important factor when evaluating internal and external candidates. 

Further, 91% of companies in APAC are also focusing on preparing their employees for the future world of work by enhancing their skills and capabilities, believing that this will lead to increased confidence and job security. 

APAC HR professionals are offering online training programs (44%) and internal learning and development sessions focused on generative AI (43%) to do so. 

As companies increasingly invest in learning opportunities, the focus on creating a culture of learning has soared, becoming a top priority for L&D professionals in 2024 across all APAC markets. Among those in APAC, 92% say they can show business value by helping employees gain skills to move into different internal roles.