eCommerceNews Australia - Technology news for digital commerce decision-makers
Story image
Australia's gender-based skills gap in AI: Women risk becoming left behind
Tue, 26th Sep 2023

New research from Randstad, a leading HR services and recruitment firm, has revealed an alarming gender-based skills gap in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Australia. Despite half of the women surveyed acknowledging that upskilling in AI is essential for future-proofing their careers and increasing their earning potential, only 7% have received training on it in the past year, compared to 17% of men.

Furthermore, men are twice as likely to use AI tools in their workplaces, with 44% doing so compared to only 21% of women. Such disparity puts men at an undue advantage over their female counterparts. According to Jo Jakobs, Randstad’s Director NSW, if this trend remains unabated, the resulting impact on gender equality could be significant.

Based on insights from job postings and the views of 900 employees in Australia, Randstad’s latest Workmonitor Pulse survey highlights that while 50% of women are cognizant of the importance of upskilling in AI for their careers and earning potential, there is a disconcerting gap in the training and development they receive. This gap exists despite women showing a higher openness to AI upskilling, with only a quarter (23%) saying they would prefer to change jobs or careers rather than learn how to use AI, compared to two in five men (38%).

Current data suggests that more men are leveraging AI in their roles, with 44% claiming they use this technology at work, compared to just 21% of women. Consequently, men display more enthusiasm about the prospect of AI in the workplace, with half saying they’re excited, compared to only 36% of women. Without equal opportunities for AI training, nearly half of women (43%) risk being left behind, despite acknowledging that learning how to use AI will enhance their career and promotion prospects.

Jo Jakobs emphasises that only 15% of women have actively requested AI training over the next year, in comparison to 27% of men. This puts the onus on employers to address this disparity or face the consequences of an ever-widening gender-based skills gap. Jakobs warned: “While the research shows most female employees know AI skills are critical to their long-term career prospects and success, a significant gap exists between the training they desire and training they receive."

Randstad’s own analysis of global job ads indicates a massive 2,000% surge in employers seeking talent with AI skills since Q1 alone. Jakobs added: "AI is here to stay and the benefits of it are very clear, and our data shows that female employees stand ready to embrace it. It’s imperative therefore that we leverage this readiness, otherwise we run the risk of the skills gap increasing, exacerbating existing issues in terms of gender equality, and undoing years of hard work to strengthen gender-equal economic growth.”

To tackle this widening training gap, Randstad has recently launched a new entity, Randstad Digital, which specialises in catering to the technology talent needs of multinational companies across various industries. This new venture will provide customised solutions to ensure future readiness for further technological innovation.