The Coming AI Talent Shakeup: Up to 40% of Jobs Could be Impacted

Rodney HessBy Rodney Hess
January 18th, 2024 • 2 Minutes

Artificial intelligence and new generative technologies like ChatGPT promise to greatly impact the labor market in the coming years, according to recent analyses. Up to 40% of jobs globally could potentially be affected by AI automation and augmentation in both positive and negative ways, says a new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While some tasks and roles may be eliminated, the technology could also boost productivity and create new jobs. What do these seismic shifts mean for talent acquisition and recruiting?

Risks: AI-Driven Job Cuts Loom in Some Sectors

The IMF report predicts high-income countries are most exposed, with AI impacting 60% of jobs and half benefiting from productivity gains. However, nearly 40% of those roles remain at high risk. 

Likewise, PwC’s 2024 CEO Survey found 25% of business leaders expect AI adoption to reduce headcount up to 5% in their companies. Media and entertainment firms see the greatest workforce risk, with almost one-third of media/entertainment CEOs planning cuts around 5%. Though not to the same extent, transportation, healthcare, energy and financial services leaders also foresee notable AI job impacts.

Echoing this sentiment, Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google DeepMind, in an interview with CNBC, acknowledged AI as a “fundamentally labor-replacing” tool, particularly in the long term. 

For recruiting and talent teams, this data signals impending hiring volatility and job displacement in affected industries. As business leaders implement new AI systems and generative tools, they may trim certain roles and skills that see redundancies from automated tasks and new efficiencies. 

Recruiters will need to stay closely attuned to their industry workforce trajectory and rapidly upskill to source and attract the new and augmented roles AI will generate.

Opportunities: AI-Enhanced Productivity and New Jobs

While acknowledging downside risks, the IMF and business leaders also foresee tremendous labor productivity gains from integrating AI’s capabilities. By automating repetitive tasks, AI allows human workers to focus on higher-value critical thinking, decision making, creativity, emotional intelligence and human-centric roles machines can’t easily replicate. 

Further, despite planned cuts in legacy job families, PwC found 40% of CEOs expect AI to spur workforce expansion. Net workforce impacts will remain highly variable by industry segment and individual companies’ digital strategies.

For leading-edge recruiting teams, this next era of AI-powered productivity and growth will demand new workforce planning capabilities. As companies’ skills needs evolve amid rapid digital disruption, recruiters must reskill themselves on new competencies required in emerging AI-enhanced roles. 

They will also need to evolve hiring practices to effectively evaluate talents’ adaptability and soft skills alongside more ephemeral technical capabilities. Companies who build recruiter and end-to-end talent capabilities for sourcing and matching workers to more fluid, technology-driven roles may gain advantage in new competitive battles for specialized AI talent unfolding across industries.

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