AI job fears mount after third of firms slash workforce

call centre 11As ChatGPT approaches its first birthday, the true effect of the rise of artificial intelligence on the workforce has been laid bare by a new study which reveals one in three firms which use the tech have already laid off staff this year, with nearly half planning to do so in 2024.

The study, carried out by ResumeBuilder, is likely to fuel concerns that the technology could lead to mass job losses across industry sectors.

In March, Goldman Sachs published a report which claimed that AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs, while data from PwC and ONS has revealed that in some UK sectors, over half of the jobs are at risk of being taken over by the tech within the next decade.

Meanwhile, a more recent survey by WARC showed that most marketers (48%) plan to use AI for copywriting, followed by summarising large texts (46%), competitor and category analysis (45%), customer insights (42%), predictive insights (38%) and asset creation (33%).

Even so, just last week, Amazon said it plans to train over 2 million people globally in the tech by 2025, including providing free training and courses to people without technology backgrounds to meet the rising demand for talent.

The ResumeBuilder study quizzed 750 C-level executives at companies that currently or plan to use AI in 2024 and found that 53% already use AI, and 24% plan to start doing so 2024.

When asked what they are currently using AI for, business leaders say customer support (67%), research (66%), and creating summaries of meetings or documents (61%) are the top three areas and mirroring the answers for companies that plan to start using AI next year.

Of the companies currently using AI, 37% say workers were laid off in 2023 because they were no longer needed due to the company’s use of AI. In 2024, 44% of companies who use AI or plan to by next year say employees will definitely (21%) or probably (23%) be laid off due to the use of AI.

However, 91% of companies using or planning to start using AI in 2024 say they plan to hire new employees, with 96% of them saying it will be beneficial for candidates to have experience with AI. Additionally, 83% of this same group say employees who have AI skills will have more job security at their company than those who do not.

ResumeBuilder’s resume and career strategist Julia Toothacre said: “I’m not surprised by these results, and I hope this is a wake-up call for anyone rejecting AI in their industry or function.

“I would advise employees to consider all parts of their position and what could possibly be taken over by AI. Figure out what part of your position can’t be taken over by AI or where AI might need human intervention and become the go-to person for those tasks. Employees need to find ways to grow their skills and stay relevant in their field if they don’t want their job to be given to AI.

“At the end of the day, employees need to realise that AI isn’t coming, it’s here. It’s time to embrace it if it may be a threat to your position or career path.”

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