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Accenture Plans to Double AI-Skilled Workforce by 2023 Globally

Accenture is on a mission to significantly expand its workforce’s capabilities in data and artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to double the number of employees proficient in these domains from 40,000 to 80,000 globally within three years.

BENGALURU, India (AI Reporter/News): Accenture is prioritizing India in its global strategy to revolutionize its workforce through enhanced generative AI capabilities. The firm has highlighted 12 innovative data and AI-centric roles, such as data architecture and full-stack large language model development, among others, focusing on areas like responsible AI and AI technology architecture.

Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer, emphasized the significance of this initiative during her visit to Bengaluru, as reported by TOI.

“We want to double the number of people with data and AI skills…We already have 30,000 people mapped to those new roles,” she stated, highlighting the global scale of this initiative with a significant focus on India.

Our talent strategy is powered by our own digital core.

Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer

Doubling the AI-skilled Workforce

The company’s ambition is to significantly increase its data and AI-skilled workforce from 40,000 to 80,000 within three years, having already aligned 30,000 employees to newly established roles. These roles are supported by specific learning pathways to facilitate skill development.

Generative AI Academy

At the heart of Accenture’s transformative journey is the establishment of the Generative AI Academy in India. A Generative AI Academy in India plays a crucial role in training employees on these roles, with 20,000 of the 30,000 globally mapped employees based in India, reflecting the country’s importance to Accenture’s strategy. The organization, which employs over 300,000 individuals in India out of a total global workforce of 730,000, notes a significant female representation among its Indian workforce.

This initiative is designed to arm the workforce with advanced skills in 12 cutting-edge data and AI roles.

These roles encompass a wide array of specializations, including data architecture, full-stack large language model (LLM) development, and business intelligence engineering, among others.

We want to double the number of people with data and AI skills from 40,000 to 80,000 in the next three years.

Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer

Accenture has over 3 lakh employees in India out of the 7.3 lakh employees it has globally.

Logo of Accenture
Logo of Accenture

$1 billion for reskilling

Shook highlighted the company’s commitment to reskilling, with an annual investment of approximately $1 billion in employee learning and development. Accenture’s dedication to fostering a culture of continuous learning and development is manifest in its substantial investment in employee training. “Accenture invests about $1 billion a year in the learning and development of our people. And so, reskilling at scale and at speed is a core competency of ours,” Shook emphasized. This investment is a testament to the company’s commitment to ensuring its workforce remains at the cutting edge of technological advancements.

Additionally, Accenture plans to enhance genAI fundamental skills among 250,000 of its global workforce this year, targeting AI talent across the spectrum, from university graduates to experienced AI professionals.

Accenture invests about $1 billion a year in the learning and development of our people. And so, reskilling at scale and at speed is a core competency of ours,

Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer

Leadership and Responsible AI

Accenture’s leadership team is also deeply engaged in genAI learning, reflecting the organization’s commitment to leading from the front. “Over the past fiscal year, the members of the global management committee (GMC) spent 10 hours, so essentially one hour a month, learning together about genAI,” Shook shared, underscoring the importance of a well-informed leadership in steering the company through the AI revolution.

Moreover, with only 2% of companies worldwide having responsible AI programs, Accenture is pioneering in creating roles focused on ethical AI practices. This initiative not only addresses a critical skills gap but also aligns with the company’s commitment to responsible and sustainable technology deployment.

Achieving over $450 million in genAI sales

Accenture has gained a competitive edge in genAI engagements, achieving over $450 million in genAI sales in a recent quarter and undertaking more than 700 genAI projects over the last year. The company has also identified the need for roles in responsible AI, acknowledging the scarcity and importance of such skills.

Regarding potential job displacements due to genAI advancements, Shook maintained a balanced outlook, recognizing the wide range of predictions about the future impact of genAI on employment. Finally, she shared insights into how Accenture’s leadership is proactively engaging with genAI, with the global management committee dedicating time to understand and prepare for the implications of generative and predictive AI across various aspects of business.

We are capturing AI talent both at the top and the bottom of our career model. So, we are going to universities that have AI programmes. But we’re also hiring PhDs and people that have long-standing AI capabilities and experiences.

Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer

Navigating the Future with Optimism

While the discourse around genAI and job displacement continues to evolve, Accenture adopts a pragmatic and responsible stance. Shook remarked, “The headlines in the news are either very dystopian or very optimistic. I’m not a futurist and I can’t predict the future. I think the reality will lie somewhere in between. And that is why it is so essential for organisations to lead responsibly.”