‘Critical’ need for Irish workforce to embrace artificial intelligence - IDA

New report says 60% of Gen-X workers have jobs where generative AI can free-up time for ‘more value-added and creative work’

A workforce that is equipped to use artificial intelligence (AI) is now “critical” to transforming Ireland’s enterprise base and supporting future investment, IDA chief executive Michael Lohan has said.

IDA Ireland, in collaboration with Microsoft and LinkedIn, has published its latest report on the labour market, which is focused on “generative AI”. It is based on data from more than 2 million LinkedIn members in Ireland.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) defines generative AI as “a machine-learning model that is trained to create new data, rather than making a prediction about a specific data set”. Examples of the technology include ChatGPT.

The report said 60 per cent of “Generation X” workers – those born between 1965 and 1980 – have occupations where generative AI can “complement or transform the work they do, freeing up their time for more value-added and creative work”.


Millennials (1981-1996) were also identified as having a “significant opportunity” to leverage generative AI, with 56 per cent in jobs where generative AI can “complement or transform” their role.

For “Generation Z”, which refers to those born from 1997-2012, this number drops to 52 per cent, with the remaining 48 per cent currently working in roles whose core skills are “less able” to leverage generative AI.

According to the report, technology, information and media is the sector with the “greatest potential” to harness generative AI tools and technologies.

“An AI-enabled workforce is now critical to transforming our enterprise base and supporting future investment to Ireland,” said Mr Lohan.

“With AI set to transform a wide range of industries and occupations, leaders will need to be proactive in upskilling their workforce to develop the AI skills and knowledge necessary to leverage the technology.

“By continuing to invest in upskilling opportunities, we can unlock the true potential of Ireland’s workforce and ensure we remain a highly attractive location to do business well into the future.”

Microsoft Ireland site lead James O’Connor said: “Generative AI is a transformative technology that has significant potential to empower our workforce, enhance productivity and unlock exciting new business opportunities.

“These findings point towards the need for Ireland to move to a skills-based labour market.

“As generative AI becomes more prolific in the workplace, it is crucial that industry continues to collaborate with Government and academia to empower the current and future generations with the AI skills and knowledge to take full advantage of the technology.”

LinkedIn Ireland head Sue Duke said the skills that professionals need to thrive in an AI-powered world of work are “dramatically changing”.

“We expect to see a 73 per cent change in skills needed in the Irish workforce by 2030, up from a 54 per cent change expected before the rise of generative AI,” she said.

“By policymakers, companies and professionals focusing now on building the right skills in the workforce to adopt and complement generative AI, we have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this transformation and maximise its potential for Ireland’s economy.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter