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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Executives and senior managers say they will prioritize hiring candidates who have skills in automation and AI, according to a survey first shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Automation hasn't yet transformed the business world, in part because companies don't yet know how to harness these new technologies. If that's going to happen, they'll need workers who know how to use AI.

What's happening: UiPath, a robotics process automation software company, surveyed hundreds of C-level executives and senior managers about their hiring plans.

  • If choosing between two similar candidates, 72% reported they would chose the employee who had more experience in automation and AI tools, whether the role specifically required those abilities or not.
  • 83% reported that automation and AI would be necessary for jobs of the future, with almost the same percentage believing the pandemic and remote work policies had increased the need for these skills.

What they're saying: "There's a huge talent play, but if you think about the emphasis that has been put on this in the past, it doesn't map up with the education" that many workers have had, says Tom Clancy, UiPath's chief learning officer.

  • Clancy argues that companies need to take on some of that burden themselves, and offer up-skilling and re-skilling programs in automation for employees on the job.
  • "70% of that education is going to be on the job; 20% is going to be working with peers and sharing, and only 10% is really going to be formal," Clancy says.

The bottom line: It will take time for the full effects of automation to reshape the U.S. economy. But workers who develop those skills now — and the companies that support them — will be ahead of the game.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

New survey shows companies are open to moving to cheaper locales

The Phoenix office tower in Houston, Texas. The Lone Star State was the top stated destination for executives considering moving their operations. Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images

A survey of C-suite executives found more than a quarter are considering moving their operations to another state or country.

Why it matters: The forced march to remote work during the pandemic has shaken loose the bonds that tie large businesses to their home territory — and that could be bad news for high-cost cities and states.

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

34 mins ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.