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Cracking the code: How women can get ahead in an AI-driven workplace

Cracking the code: How women can get ahead in an AI-driven workplace

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In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into various aspects of our working lives has become imperative for driving innovation and maximizing efficiency.

A recent EY 2023 Work Reimagined Survey found that 84% of Malaysians, compared to 67% globally, believe AI will greatly change how they work, offering more flexibility. Also, a whopping 96% of Malaysians, versus 84% globally, either use AI now or plan to within the year. 

As AI continues to reshape industries and redefine the nature of work, it's crucial for individuals, regardless of gender, to stay ahead of the curve. However, this imperative is particularly pronounced for women due to AI's disproportionate potential impact on their employment. A recent UN study warns that women may be disproportionately at risk of having their jobs automated by AI, with more than twice the share of male employment potentially jeopardized by automation. This underscores the urgency for women to begin upskilling to build a career path that evolves with AI, rather than being automated by it. 

Interest in AI upskilling surging  

Amidst increasing job uncertainty, it's heartening to note a significant rise in women enrollments for courses like "AI for Everyone". In Malaysia, enrollments among women learners increased by 120% in 2023 compared to the year before. It is encouraging that women demonstrate a keen interest in understanding the technology that will radically alter their work. 

Coursera’s data also shows that Malaysian women are seeking to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to arming themselves with in-demand skills – such as Generative AI, data and UX design – for the evolving requirements of the workplace. Google’s job-relevant courses remain the most popular among Malaysian women learners, accounting for 14 of the top 20 courses in 2023.

With the labor market constantly evolving, driven by digitalisation and automation, it is positive to see women recognising the value of earning online certifications and micro-credentials for job-relevant skills.

Online learning provides an accessible and flexible route to accelerating women’s career growth, but equally important is building a network and profile. Seeking mentorship to guide progress, advocating for challenging projects to showcase abilities and networking to connect with like-minded professionals are all ways women can set themselves up for success and stability. 

Women at the forefront of the AI age  

AI upskilling and development can also enable women to contribute to diverse AI development teams. This diversity can play a pivotal role in breaking the gender bias innate in AI that can occur in the algorithm development processes, the training of datasets, and AI-generated decision-making. 

Unfortunately, women only make up 28% of professionals in the tech industry. However, this offers immense potential for increasing female representation to help drive the AI revolution.

By identifying the right career growth opportunities, embracing a culture of continuous learning, and earning online certifications and micro-credentials, women can become leaders in the AI-driven workforce.  

Undoubtedly, the wealth of job opportunities within AI offers immense promise for women to thrive in this exciting and essential field. As they forge their paths, women are not just keeping up with the AI curve - they are also driving innovation and shaping the future of technology. 

This article was written by Marni Baker Stein, chief content officer at Coursera 

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