Young man wearing headset working on Laptop 6 linked to big screen

Access to latest tech and digital skills key to retaining talent | Microsoft report

New research finds that while UK IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) see the value of AI, they are facing increased demand from employees for better devices, skills training and career opportunities, which only strengthens the business case for greater investment.

The research, commissioned by Microsoft, reveals that 40% of ITDMs feel their organisation is falling behind because of insufficient investment in new tech. And 89% who use AI every day say they would use it even more if they had the right tools.

The report, The AI+Talent Equation, identifies an urgent need for ITDMs to build a business case for additional investment in tech, not only to maintain a competitive edge but also to meet the growing demands of employees.

Based on surveys of 602 ITDMs and 1,029 employees, the research reveals that:

  • 25% workers don’t feel their work PC is powerful enough to run AI
  • 35% of Gen Z employees don’t feel their work PC is powerful enough to run AI
  • 29% of employees think their current PC or device is slowing down their work
  • 26% say their work PC regularly crashes or freezes.

Skills gap

The findings also suggest that:

  • just 24% of Gen X employees feel they have the skills needed to use AI effectively at work
  • this figure rises to 36% for employees overall
  • and to 56% for younger Gen Z employees.

Future proofing

The figures have a knock-on effect on attitudes to staying with their current employer:

  • 60% of employees looking to change jobs say they would probably stay longer if their current employer helped them develop more digital skills
  • 50% of Gen Z employees say they’re taking active steps to future-proof their careers
  • 41% of Gen Z employees say they are planning on switching companies
  • 19% of employees overall say they are planning to move.

Reacting to the research findings, Alan Slothower, Head of Surface Commercial, Microsoft UK, said: “The rapid adoption of AI in the workplace necessitates higher specification technology and digital upskilling.

“For IT decision makers, it is imperative to prioritise and provide AI-ready PCs and effective training.

“Empowering staff in this way is especially important for younger generations, with these tools crucial for retention and career engagement.” 

Useful links