IBM boss Ginni Rometty urges businesses to widen the hiring pool to fill skills gap

She believes that as businesses look to scale artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and blockchain, "100% of jobs will change in the future".
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

IBM president and CEO Ginni Rometty has outlined that for any enterprise to scale artificial intelligence (AI), or any other technologies like blockchain and quantum computing, across its business, having relevant skills will be one of the "critical success factors".

"We have a strong point of view that 100% of jobs will change in the future," she said, cautioning that it does not mean existing jobs will be replaced, just parts of it will change.

Rometty believes that it's possible for businesses to acquire people with the right skills. She believes it's just a matter of businesses widening how they hire people -- for their skills and not their university degrees.

"I am worried this digital era will not be inclusive if we don't make it inclusive, so it means widening who you can hire," she said during her keynote at IBM's Cloud Innovation Exchange in Sydney on Tuesday.

She pointed to how IBM, for instance, has used its Pathway to Technology Schools program to train high school students in under-served, underprivileged communities with tech skills to boost its future hiring pool.

"There is now a pipeline of 200,000 students -- we have 12 schools in Australia and soon to be another 10 -- that make great employees for cybersecurity in a lot of our cloud work. 15% of my hiring in the United States, which is where we've been at this the longest, was this type of education," Rometty said.

See also: Why we must strike a balance with AI to solve the cybersecurity skills gap (TechRepublic)

She also said Big Blue has built a "skills-based culture" and a "Netflix for learning" to cope with the company's own skills challenges. 

Rometty's remarks echoed similar comments she shared at the start of this year during CES 2019, when she said "100% of jobs will be different" because of AI.

During her keynote on Tuesday, Rometty also took the opportunity to reiterate the company's strategy behind its acquisition of RedHat, a deal that was worth $34 billion.

"Linux, containers, and Kubernetes will be the standard of this next era. That is why we acquired Red Hat, a leader in open source but also a leader in those standards in those projects" she said, while highlighting that open source will be key to helping companies modernise mission critical applications in the backend.

"20% of work has moved to the cloud today. 80% of it to go. All of those with mission critical apps know that when you look at them, they're all pretty unique -- different locations, security, regulatory environments -- so there's a complexity around that," Rometty said. 

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