Embracing AI and the changing jobs landscape

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

By Lord Mark Price, below, Founder, WorkL

News from a report by Goldman Sachs that an estimated 300 million full-time jobs could be replaced with AI has raised more questions about the future of the jobs market and how we should navigate this significant shift.

The report estimates that AI could replace a quarter of everyday work jobs in the US and it could mean that there will be an increase in the total annual value of goods and services produced globally. All good news it seems – if productivity and profits are up and the number of work tasks people have to generate is down, then surely it’s a good thing?

The pace that AI has established itself within society has been incredible, with CHAT GPT now regularly used by consumers and organisations to quicken and streamline jobs and lives. The content created is said to be indistinguishable from human work, however, errors and incorrect facts mean that many companies are having to fact check the work. Of course, this will change as the technology develops.

When looking at the report by sector, 46% of tasks in administration might be run by AI in the future. We’ll also see creative writing job roles, such as authors and journalists, be less in demand since average or poor writers will be able to use CHAT GPT to enhance their own writing. In comparison, manual jobs, such as construction will see minimal job losses.

One thing that AI will impact for sure, other than job losses, is wages. Those in industries where AI will take over the majority of tasks, will be less in demand which will result in wage decreases across the sector. We’ve already seen this with drivers of black taxis. Once their knowledge of London roads was invaluable, now it’s less in demand as Sat Navs in Ubers ferry customers around just as fast around the capital as black cabbies did. This has resulted in a decrease in wages for hackney carriage drivers, but not a decrease in drivers.

I compare this digital transition to the great agricultural revolution or industrial revolution – both of these moments in time didn’t stop population growth, or reduce jobs, just changed them. An example of the most recent technological advancement was the birth of computers. Research in the report reveals that 60% of workers are currently in occupations that did not exist in 1940. This illustrates that society adapts, as it always has, and we will adapt as AI changes the jobs market.

At WorkL, the employee experience platform that I founded in 2017, we measure, track and improve employee engagement and employee happiness at work, with the help of AI.  We’re currently using AI to enhance our Jobs Marketplace, where millions of live jobs are advertised globally. This is one example how AI will help people find work and employers find the right person for the role, in a more accurate and quicker way.

The  report also reveals that the UK Government says that it is embracing AI, but are cautious to highlight that they are working to make AI complement the current jobs market rather than remove jobs. We’ll see how possible this is over the coming months, but employers should be looking to embrace AI and use it to make employees’ lives better. Change is good and there’s no doubt that we’ll see big changes over the coming months.

Lord Price launched WorkL in 2017, along with WorkL For Business which now helps over 300 businesses globally improve the happiness and engagement of their teams and has seen over 500,000 individuals globally take the free Workl happy at work survey which helps people determine how happy they are in their current job

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024