Women fear AI could push them out of the workforce

women in data 1Artificial intelligence might be booming in the workplace but bias fears are growing just as quickly, with female staff increasingly concerned that the technology could place them at a higher risk of redundancy than their male colleagues.

According to new research from not for profit training and recruitment specialist Code First Girls, more than eight out of ten workers are now using ChatGPT at work, across a variety of roles, including tech, content creation, graphic design, and copywriting, with six in ten using it to improve productivity, with half saying it helps them work faster.

However, a quarter of workers said they believe the use of AI will “push women out of the workforce” while nearly half agreed that the potential imbalance in tech will result in biased or discriminatory AI models.

And when it comes to recruitment, researchers said unintentional bias in AI models and algorithm development can result in a lack of diversity among shortlisted candidates, thanks to male-dominated training data.

The issue is at the heart of the organisation’s purpose, with its stated aim of “promoting gender diversity and female participation in the technology sector by offering free courses for students and professional women who are wanting to retrain”.

Set up in 2012, it also supports businesses to train staff and encourage levelling-up for female staff and helps companies recruit more women into the tech sector by connecting them with newly trained female developers. It has worked with BT, Capgemini, Tesco Bank, Ford, KFC, Accenture, Dunelm, Global and Vodafone.

Code First Girls claims to have of trained over 50,000 women but chief executive Anna Brailsford is now calling on all businesses to act over bias concerns.

She said: “The development of AI continues to demonstrate useful applications across a variety of industries and sectors. However, by not prioritising diversity in its development, we risk building models that are inherently discriminatory against race and gender minorities.

“So with concerns about the growth of generative AI potentially pushing more women out of the workforce, businesses must work harder than ever to recruit and retain diverse tech teams that build effective and innovative AI models and wider tech products.”

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