The impact of AI on jobs and workforce

The emergence of AI technologies like ChatGPT has led to speculation about the transformation of jobs, with estimates suggesting that a significant portion of tasks will be changed or replaced. However, previous predictions about job loss due to AI have not fully materialized. Learn more from ILO’s webinar on impact on AI on work (and jobs).

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The ILO’s webinar was triggered by the recent impact of ChatGPT on our society and jobs. OpenAI’s ChatGPT, in particular, has gained massive popularity due to its ability to mimic human language and perform tasks like answering questions, writing text, and even code. A recent paper by OpenAI researchers estimated that at least 80% of jobs will have some exposure to OpenAI’s technologies, and 19% will have at least 50% of their tasks entirely changed.

However, it is important to note that previous predictions about job loss due to AI have not fully materialised. For example, a report from 2013 estimated that 47% of existing jobs would be wiped away by AI, but this has not happened despite various crises like the climate crisis, geopolitical crisis, and pandemic crisis.

Nevertheless, companies are already replacing some job positions and job skills with AI. A survey conducted in February showed that one in four companies had already been replacing job positions and skills with AI. In a more recent survey, 9 out of 10 companies reported hiring individuals with AI skills, indicating a growing demand for such skills in the workforce. Organizations see hiring individuals with AI skills as a way to make their companies more competitive and cutting-edge.

The impact of AI is expected to be more significant on white-collar jobs. While robotics primarily affected blue-collar jobs in the past, AI is now impacting white-collar jobs as well. AI is particularly suited for tasks that involve information processing, analysis, and manipulation. Therefore, jobs that involve shuffling and analyzing information are more likely to be affected by AI.

The impact of AI on jobs and the workforce is still uncertain, and it remains to be seen how it will affect different industries and job roles. However, the demand for AI skills is growing, and individuals with AI skills are seen as valuable assets in the job market.

In terms of the impact on SMEs, it is important to consider that most workers in the world are employed in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The adoption of AI in SMEs may vary depending on factors like the size of the organization and the nature of the work. However, AI has the potential to affect SMEs as well, especially in tasks that involve information processing and analysis.

The use of AI in the hiring process raises questions about the accuracy of information and the suitability of candidates. AI can assist in writing resumes and cover letters, but the interview process remains crucial for assessing candidates. Savvy hiring managers rely on face-to-face interactions to evaluate candidates and make informed decisions.

The question of regulation is also important when it comes to AI in the workforce. While some companies are calling for effective regulation, it is essential to respect existing laws related to labor standards, security, non-discrimination, and privacy. It is also crucial to address the issue of unpaid labor, as individuals using AI tools like ChatGPT contribute to the training and improvement of AI systems without compensation.

In conclusion, the impact of AI on jobs and the workforce is a complex and evolving issue. While previous predictions about job loss have not fully materialized, companies are already replacing some job positions with AI and hiring individuals with AI skills. The impact of AI is expected to be more significant on white-collar jobs, particularly those involving information processing and analysis. It is important for organizations to retrain and redeploy workers affected by AI job changes, and for regulators to ensure fair and ethical use of AI in the workforce.

You can learn more at the ILO’s podcast.