From education to employment

UK females prioritise AI upskilling with their jobs disproportionately at risk 

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New data from one of the world’s largest online learning platforms, Coursera, has found that women are increasingly prioritising AI upskilling. DeepLearning.AI’s “AI for Everyone” has shot up to being the sixth most popular course for the 1.58 million female learners on Coursera in the UK, from only 59th in 2022.

Generative AI’s potential to radically shift skills requirements and even displace jobs has dominated headlines throughout 2023. Indeed, Coursera data shows that 67% of UK bosses say it is now ‘important’ for job candidates to have AI skills, while 83% believe AI will change the skills their company requires.

With a recent study by the UN’s International Labour Organisation, finding that women may be disproportionately at higher risk of having their jobs automated by AI, the rising interest in AI courses on Coursera indicates an increasing demand from UK women to understand the technology that has the potential to transform their work. 

Top Courses for UK Women on Coursera 

20232022 Course NameCourse Provider
11The Science of Well-BeingYale University
22Foundations: Data, Data EverywhereGoogle
33Foundations of Project ManagementGoogle
44Foundations of User Experience (UX) DesignGoogle
56Foundations of Digital Marketing and E-CommerceGoogle
659AI for EveryoneDeepLearning.AI
75Ask Questions to Make Data-Driven DecisionsGoogle
89Financial MarketsYale University
912Project Initiation: Starting a Successful ProjectGoogle
106Introduction to PsychologyYale University
118Start the UX Design Process: Empathize, Define, and IdeateGoogle
12N/AThe Science of Well-Being for TeensYale University
1311Prepare Data for ExplorationGoogle
147Learning How to LearnDeep Teaching Solutions
1517Agile Project ManagementGoogle
1615Process Data from Dirty to CleanGoogle
17N/ABusiness Analytics with Excel: Elementary to AdvancedJohns Hopkins University
1818Introduction to StatisticsStanford University
1916First Step KoreanYonsei University
2029Project Planning: Putting It All TogetherGoogle

As the world of work and the skills it demands continues to evolve, Google’s job-relevant courses remain the most popular with female learners, accounting for 11 of the top 20 courses taken by UK women on Coursera this year.

Yet despite clear prioritisation of courses covering job-relevant skills, Yale University’s “The Science of Well-Being” remains the most popular course for UK women, having held the top spot for the past three years, with “The Science of Well-Being for Teens” entering the list this year in 12th place. 

Additional highlights include: 

  • Interest in Korean holds steady in the top 20 among UK female learners, with Yonsei University’s First Step Korean in 19th this year to-date, 16th in 2022, but down from its pandemic peak of 8th-most-popular in 2021
  • COVID-19 Contact Tracing (Johns Hopkins University) is no longer one of the top 200 courses, having been 16th-most-popular among UK women in 2021

Marni Baker Stein, Chief Content Officer at Coursera, said:

“AI has again exploded into the public consciousness this year, with its potential to transform the world continuing to be the subject of innumerable headlines, deep-dives, and dinner-table debates. Amid the sensationalism it is important to remain aware of genuine prospective challenges – including research that suggests that women may be disproportionately at risk from having their jobs automated by AI. 

“It is against this backdrop of looming employment jeopardy that we have seen a massive uptake in the “AI for Everyone” course by female learners on Coursera this year, as women seek to better understand the technology that will radically alter the way we work. The labour market is constantly evolving and, as digitalisation and automation continue to transform the workplace, it is encouraging to see women recognising the value of earning online certifications and micro-credentials in job-relevant skills – like AI – which can accelerate career growth via an accessible and flexible medium.

“Coursera’s data shows, encouragingly, that British women are seeking to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to arming themselves with the most in-demand skills. But with Yale’s “The Science of Well-Being” course retaining the top spot, it’s evident that women are also balancing learning for their career with learning for personal development to build more productive habits and increase their own happiness – essential both for navigating the evolving work of work, and a complex world.” 

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