U.S., U.K. and Canadian residents call for a unified skills strategy for the AI age

We asked 10,000 people in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada what they thought about the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs. We wanted to know what they believe it takes to be prepared, what type of education is needed, who should provide it and who should pay for it. And do they believe higher education,
business and government are up to the task to solve the skills crisis?

Here are some of the findings:

Most people believe that lifelong learning is critical for staying prepared as artificial intelligence transforms the job market worldwide. Yet, higher education, business and government are all failing to provide solutions.

Do you agree that it is more important for individuals to learn and be trained frequently over the course of their career, instead of pursuing a one-time advanced degree or certificate?

Do you believe that each of the following is doing enough to address the need for lifelong learning in your country?

Who should provide lifelong learning and who has the responsibility to help make it more affordable?

Who do you view as the best equipped to provide career-long education and training?

Many people may require financial assistance to pay for lifelong learning opportunities needed to keep up with advances in artificial intelligence. Who should be responsible for helping make this kind of education more affordable?

People in the UK and Canada envision their skills becoming obsolete—but not Americans.

When do you believe your current skills and education will become outdated?

Employees cite cost and lack of time as barriers to pursuing lifelong learning.

Which of the following are major barriers you would face when seeking education or training over the course of your career?

Most agree that universities do not prepare people for success in the workforce.

On a scale of 1 to 5, do you agree universities in your country do a good job preparing graduates for success in the current workforce?

They also believe that universities are out of touch with the needs of learners and employers.

What makes traditional four-year universities unequipped to provide lifelong learning?

Canadians still believe in the enduring value of a college degree, while people in the US and the UK are less optimistic.

Do you believe earning a college degree is more important, less important, or about the same as it was 10 years ago?

People in the UK and Canada believe “soft” skills are more important than “hard” STEM skills; Americans are divided.

Which of the following types of skills do you believe are more important for professionals in your field to have to protect themselves from losing their jobs to new technology, automation, robots, or artificial intelligence?

Employees want on-the-job training provided by employers instead of programs offered by universities.

If your current skills and education were to become outdated, which of the following types of education would you prefer?

More people see offshoring as a greater threat to jobs than artificial intelligence. And UK residents are less worried about automation than about Brexit’s impact on the economy.

What do you believe an increase in the use of artificial intelligence will mean for jobs in your country?

A deeper look into UK residents’ feelings about Brexit.

If the referendum were to be repeated tomorrow, how would you vote?

Each dot visualizes a respondent group in the survey. Groups on the right of the chart were more likely to say Remain, while groups on the left were more likely to say Leave.

For more information, please contact media@northeastern.edu