Learn how AI already impacts the job market, with certain roles being replaced. How do we stay competitive & develop the skills needed to thrive alongside AI?
Change is always a companion on our journey, but recently, it has picked up speed. McKinsey dropped this report like a stone in the job market pond, saying certain jobs could poof into thin air in just seven years, thanks to the growing generative AI.
AI's Impact on Jobs: Predictions
Jobs that COVID-19 body-slammed, such as customer-facing jobs in food services, sales, and office support, will likely continue shrinking in the coming years. Conversely, legal professions, management, healthcare, transportation, and STEM jobs showed resilience during the pandemic and are expected to grow.
Industries like banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and transportation are undergoing a digital transformation, creating a demand for skilled tech workers.
Education, training, and construction employment are predicted to rise as continuous learning and infrastructure development take center stage.
Individuals earning less than $38,200 a year are 14 times more likely to be affected by generative AI. According to the research, these jobs are often held by individuals with lower education levels, women, and people of color.
Women, particularly in office support and customer service roles, could decline by around 3.7 million and 2.0 million jobs by 2030.
Black and Hispanic workers are overrepresented in customer service, food services, and production work, which may see a decrease in opportunities.
But the machine has already begun to tweak the employment world.
AI's Impact on Jobs: What's Already Happening
AI Has Started to Wipe Out Certain Human Roles
AI had already eliminated nearly 4,000 jobs in May alone, as reported recently. Technology advancement is driving the automation of various roles that humans once performed. These transformations extend across several sectors:
- Creative & Media: AI has replaced voice actors, video editors, graphic designers, advertisers, content writers, projectionists, and journalists. The lines between human and AI-generated content are increasingly blurred.
- Transportation & Logistics: Cab and forklift drivers are being replaced by self-driving vehicles and machines, signaling a significant shift in how we transport goods and people.
- Security & Surveillance: Traditional security guards are making way for AI-driven surveillance systems.
- Customer Service: Chatbots and conversational AI replace call centers and customer service agents.
- Data & Technology: AI can now write prompts and has replaced some and/or most of the tasks once carried out by coders, software developers, web developers, computer programmers, data scientists, and data annotators.
- Transcription & Language Services: Software takes over transcription and translation duties from audio typists and translators.
- Legal Industry: We are now witnessing more and more virtual paralegals and legal assistants.
- Finance & Investment: The roles of financial analysts and personal financial advisors are also changing.
Meanwhile, it generates a demand for some brand-new roles.
New AI-Oriented Positions on the Rise
A recent study by Upwork underscores this shift, revealing that almost half of hiring managers plan to hire more freelancers and full-time employees to harness AI's capacity for enabling creative and thoughtful work. AI-oriented jobs, such as deep learning engineers, AI chatbot developers, prompt engineers, and AI ethicists, have seen a surge in demand over the past year. However, it's unclear how long these roles will stick around.
Take, for instance, the role of a "prompt engineer." This role didn't exist a year ago, but the demand for it during Q2 2023 was nearly seven times higher than in Q1. Yet, it may no longer be needed once the AI becomes proficient enough, thanks to human training, to generate optimal prompts on its own.
The big question is: When will this shift happen? This, frankly, remains a mystery for most, if not all of us. But the silver lining is that there are steps we can take to prep ourselves for when that time arrives.
Navigating AI's Impact: Employer Strategies
AI has come a long way in recent years, but it's far from flawless. A large body of studies has sounded alarms about generative AI, pointing out its potential for errors, biases, fabricated outcomes, privacy violations, and data breaches. This begs the question: How should employers navigate this new reality without losing their way?
Train Your Employees
One logical response is to cultivate and nurture our human resources. A recent study reveals that 63% of decision-makers struggle to find employees with AI and machine learning skills, even though 54% already use these technologies. The solution, it seems, lies in creating in-house educational programs to foster skill development. While these programs might demand extra technical expertise and resources, there's a glimmer of optimism in another survey that reveals nearly half of companies are actively working on training and upskilling their workforce to tackle the challenges posed by AI.
Reassurance is Needed More Than Ever
As companies race to embrace AI, their employees find themselves caught in a haze of confusion. They're not sure what AI means for them. New Qualtrics research finds that nearly 60% of employees believe their company either lacks a clear AI usage policy or is unaware of such a policy. This leaves them perplexing where they must figure out what's allowed and what's not.
In such times, it's crucial for employers to engage in open and transparent conversations with their workforce. The anxiety surrounding AI is real, and employees need reassurance. They must know that human input remains indispensable for refining content and shaping the company's strategies. To navigate this transformative period successfully, consider monitoring employee sentiments and crafting a strategic workforce plan.
Rethink Candidate Assessment
Focusing solely on candidates with experience doesn't guarantee future success. Probably the more viable approach is to seek out individuals who possess adaptability and a willingness to acquire new skills in various domains.
Reevaluating your candidate assessment criteria becomes a critical step in this process. Rather than fixating on their prior roles, focus on their learning capacity, abilities, and transferable skills. Initiatives like "Tear the Paper Ceiling" aim to support experienced workers who may not possess formal degrees, thereby fostering a more inclusive work environment.
Build A Solid Talent Pipeline
As demand for experts in generative AI might become increasingly high, employers should consider investing in recruiting tech, are positioning themselves ahead of the curve. Tools like candidate sourcing, pre-employment assessment, recruitment automation, scheduling, and video interviewing, when used effectively, can significantly streamline the recruitment process.
To further strengthen their talent pipelines, consider actively engaging in AI-focused conferences and forming partnerships with local colleges and universities to meet this rising demand. It's time to adapt, not just to AI but to the evolving nature of the workforce and the skills that will drive our future.
Thriving Alongside AI: Strategies for Employees and Job Seekers
AI is likely to remain more of a co-pilot than the sole pilot in charge, say tech experts. Human oversight will continue to be essential to ensure the accuracy and ethnicity of work produced by generative AI tools.
So, whether you're in a job or on the hunt for one, the smart move is to focus on skills that AI can't quite replicate—at least, not yet. These are your soft skills, the ones that make you human. Think interpersonal skills, effective communication, listening abilities, time management, problem-solving prowess, leadership, and empathy. These qualities go hand in hand with technology, creating a perfect blend. As per the McKinsey report, it's the social-emotional skills and digital know-how that will open doors to the future.
The report also points out the fact that while some basic thinking and manual skills might lose a bit of their shine, physical work will still clock in at around 31% of total work time. This is especially true in transportation services, construction, and healthcare.
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The Era of AI
The times have changed. We don't see postmen as often as our parents or grandparents did. We get suggestions on what movies to watch and places to visit, and we even share a laugh with Alexa.
I find myself occasionally chuckling at the thought that in the not-so-distant future, I will be replaced by a machine. It's not that I believe I'm irreplaceable, but I've come to understand that this is simply how things evolve.
Instead of losing sleep over an uncertain future, I choose to look ahead with hope. If the day comes when I find myself being replaced by robots, I hope it will be a decision I make. Perhaps I won't remain an HR Tech Editor but take on a fresh role working alongside AI, honing my skills, and enjoying life to the fullest. Just as we've come to terms with the internet—with its flaws, but also its profound and positive transformations in our lives.
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