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Talent Development Leader

AI Is a Risk Worth the Reward

Monday, February 26, 2024

CEOs prioritize investing in artificial intelligence and upskilling talent to keep pace in 2024.

Forty-five percent of CEOs said their organizations had a decade or less to survive if they stayed on their current business paths, according to PwC's report, Thriving in an Age of Continuous Reinvention. Released in January, it is based on the company’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey.


Forty percent of CEOs said the same for the 2023 report. That year-over-year increase gives voice to the sense of “urgency many executives feel about reinventing their business model in the face of disruption,” notes PwC in the 2024 report.

Although megatrends such as climate change, social instability, and shifting demographics are spurring businesses to adapt, more than half of the 4,700 CEOs surveyed said technological disruption is the number 1 factor driving them to change how their companies operate. In particular, the report takes a deep dive into the potential impact of artificial intelligence, which is “approaching a critical juncture, seemingly poised to transform business models, redefine work processes, and overhaul entire industries.”

AI is also a top priority for CEOs recently surveyed by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which found that 85 percent of more than 1,400 C-suite leaders plan to increase their spending on AI and generative AI in 2024.

Likewise, a report from the Conference Board, titled C-Suite Outlook for 2024: Leading for Tomorrow, predicts that “rapidly advancing AI technology” will have the greatest impact on business in the coming year. Globally, more than 91 percent of CEOs and 93 percent of other C-suite executives said their companies have either already integrated AI into operations, plan to do so immediately, or are actively exploring options.

85% of C-suite leaders plan to increase AI and generative AI spending in 2024. Source: "From Potential to Profit With GenAI," Boston Consulting Group, 2024
However, data from the Conference Board unfortunately reveals that almost half of CEOs and others in the C-suite believe their businesses are faltering in their application of AI. To turn that figure around, companies will need to invest in talent, new skills, and training. In addition to general skill building, respondents said maximizing AI’s potential requires more cross-functional collaboration and a significant business model transformation.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed by BCG cited a lack of talent and skills as a main obstacle toward successful AI implementation. Further, only 6 percent of respondents said their companies have trained at least one quarter of their people on generative AI tools.

To address the AI-related talent and skills shortage, more than half of employers plan on hiring in 2024 to support generative AI, according to PwC. In fact, the majority of respondents anticipate that new AI-based tools and processes will require their workforces to update skills and competencies within the next three years.


Ninety percent of CEOs believe it’s an investment that will pay off. The Conference Board report predicts that AI will increase the efficiency, innovation, and productivity of labor overall.

“The expected pace of change amplifies the need for CEOs, their management teams, and their boards to commit to elevating technological expertise within their organizations,” the report concludes.

Read more from Talent Development Leader.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected]

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