Skilled jobs to be most impacted by AI ‘revolution,’ reveals OECD report

Law, medicine, and finance professions are more likely to be replaced.
Loukia Papadopoulos
AI may soon replace skilled jobs.jpg
AI may soon replace skilled jobs.

Moor Studio/iStock 

An AI “revolution” is coming that could result in job losses in skilled professions such as law, medicine, and finance, said a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The report noted that the occupations at the highest risk represented about 27 percent of employment across its 38 member countries.

“Initial results from a new OECD survey on AI use in the manufacturing and finance sectors show the urgent need to act now, with policies that allow countries, firms and individuals to benefit from AI, while addressing risks,” warned the body.

It added that it was “clear that the potential for [AI-driven jobs] substitution remains significant, raising fears of decreasing wages and job losses.” 

“Occupations in finance, medicine and legal activities which often require many years of education, and whose core functions rely on accumulated experience to reach decisions, may suddenly find themselves at risk of automation from AI,” the body further noted.

Major economies face major changes

AI developments have resulted in cases where output from AI tools is indistinguishable from that of humans putting major economies at risk of experiencing major changes.

“These rapid developments, combined with the falling costs of producing and adopting these new technologies, suggest that OECD economies may be on the cusp of an AI revolution which could fundamentally change the workplace,” the organization said in its 2023 employment outlook, adding that “urgent action is required to make sure AI is used responsibly and in a trustworthy way in the workplace.”

To avoid some of the pitfalls associated with the AI revolution, the body suggested workers be trained in AI adoption and use.

“Increasingly rapid AI development and adoption means that new skills will be needed, while others will change or become obsolete. Training is needed for both low-skilled and older workers, but also for higher-skilled workers. Governments should encourage employers to provide more training, integrate AI skills into education, and support diversity in the AI workforce,” said the report.

It’s not all bad news. AI has the potential to eliminate boring or dangerous tasks and create better, more interesting ones instead. “The findings show that AI use at work can lead to positive outcomes for workers around job satisfaction, health, and wages,” noted the report.

However, firms using the technology noted that their main goals were to improve worker performance and reduce staff costs. This means well-paid jobs requiring high-end education could be the most affected.


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