Artificial intelligence: less than 10% of companies already use it

The issue of skills: digital skills are needed for 6 out of 10 employees, but in 45.6% of cases they are difficult to find

Economy - published on 05 March 2024

Fonte: ufficio stampa Unioncamere

Milan, 4 March 2024 – Italian companies have made giant strides in digitalisation, but less than 10% use artificial intelligence while 15% intend to invest in this technology in the next three years. This is shown by the data on the 40 thousand self-diagnosis tests of digital maturity (Selfi 4.0), carried out through the Digital Enterprise Points of the Chambers of Commerce. However, one problem remains: that of workers’ skills. Asked last year of more than 6 out of 10 employees, they are considered difficult to find in 45.6% of cases. These data emerged at the meeting Il lavoro al tempo dell’intelligenza artificiale (“Work in the Time of Artificial Intelligence“), taking place today.

Businesses have realised that artificial intelligence is an indispensable tool for competitiveness, but the companies that have already equipped themselves are still few, – emphasises Unioncamere president Andrea Prete. The chamber system is actively helping them with information and training activities through the PIDs (Digital Enterprise Point). The Chambers of Commerce have also launched a vast Open Innovation project aimed at improving the management of their information assets through artificial intelligence. This is the case of the Stendhal platform, an initiative that allows the competitive positioning of over 200 Italian tourist destinations to be analysed and verified through indicators that go as far as the municipal level‘.

In the next three years, therefore, the national production system will take a further step forward on the digitisation front, following the already substantial results achieved especially after the pandemic. The Selfi 4.0 analysis shows, in fact, that from 2021 to 2023 the percentage of companies belonging to the ‘apprentice’ category, i.e. those that have taken their first steps in the use of digital technologies, has progressively shrunk from 41.6% to 37.4%. On the contrary, those belonging to the “Specialist” (from 39.1% in 2021 to 41.6% in 2023) and digital “Expert” (from 11.9% in 2021 to 13.6% in 2023) categories, i.e., respectively, those enterprises that are quite autonomous in the use of digital and those that have digitised the majority of their functions, increased. Less significant are the variations in the ‘Champion’ digital and ‘Rookie’ digital categories corresponding to the excellent companies and the companies that are still tied to traditional process management.
The overall picture therefore confirms a trend of progressive acquisition of 4.0 technologies within business processes.

The demand for digital skills
According to Unioncamere and Anpal’s Excelsior Information System, almost 3.5 million of the professional figures sought in 2023 by industry and services companies (63.4% of the total) were required to possess the ability to use Internet technologies (64.0% in 2022); 2.8 million profiles, on the other hand, were required to have specific skills in the use of mathematical and IT languages and methods (50.6% in 2023 compared to 51.9% in 2022). More than 2 million recruitments, or 37.1% of the total (37.5% in 2022) were instead intended for professionals with skills in managing innovative solutions through the application of digital robotic technologies, big analytics, internet of things, etc. to business processes.
1.8 million professional profiles were required by companies to possess at least one of the three digital skills described above.
The difficulty of finding them always exceeds 45% for all three types of digital skills required.
Overall, almost a third of the total (32.1%) are the professional profiles for which e-skills are considered strategic by enterprises.

In general, it is the most qualified professions that are asked for more advanced digital skills. Starting with managers, for whom the ability to use Internet technologies is sought after for 96.6% of the planned entries, the use of mathematical languages and methods for 94.8% and the management of innovative processes for 66.6%.
However, the ability to use Internet technologies is also required by more than half of the skilled occupations in trade and services, skilled workers and plant and mobile machinery operators. Finally, almost 40% of unskilled professions are required to possess the same skill.
The North West confirms itself as the area where the demand for digital skills is greatest. However, in the more specific and innovative sphere concerning the application of digital technologies, robotics and big data analytics to business processes, the greatest demand is expressed by the regions of Southern Italy, in line with a trend that has already emerged over the last two years.

The most difficult to find digital professions
Electrical engineers and information engineers are the two most difficult profiles to find when skills in using the Internet and mathematical and computer languages and methods are required. The use of the Internet is also required of civil construction technicians, network and telematics systems technicians and electronic technicians with a high level of importance and difficulty of recruitment.
On the other hand, the ability to use mathematical and computer methods and languages is also required with a high level of importance for network and telematics systems management technicians, electrotechnicians and application technicians.
With regard to the ability to manage innovative solutions with 4.0 technologies, in addition to electrical engineers, civil construction engineers, electrical engineers and network and telematics systems engineers also stand out due to the difficulty of finding them and the high importance of their skills.

Read more in the full document


Translated by Cecilia Flaccavento
Intern at the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso – Belluno|Dolomites

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