AI in employment has become a significant topic to discuss as we are now seeing more companies normalising the integration of AI into their daily operations. It has led to the growing concern that AI will eliminate jobs, leaving many obsolete employees due to job automation.
However, a new report by the Institute for the Future of Work (IFOW) suggests that AI positively impacts the job market but will require new skills to actualise it.
Avoiding the potential downsides while reaping the benefits of AI can only be achieved if companies and the government increase their action to support the readiness to adopt the technology.
AI in Employment: IFOW Report
IFOW surveyed over 1,000 UK firms to build this report on AI adoption and work outcomes. In the report, it was established that although we now should be critical of adopting AI at work, the outcomes are yet to be determined. Thus, the focus should be on actualising the benefits of AI in employment.
Through the survey, they discovered that 79% of firms in the past three years have adopted new technology for both physical and cognitive tasks. In terms of firm size, small and medium-sized firms as well as large ones have the same rate of job automation for cognitive tasks.
Among those who have adopted automation technologies, the net impact is positive. Both job creation and skills have seen an improvement. However, it is noted that these positive outcomes are highly tied to the readiness of the firm.
They noted that in the UK there are varying levels of readiness across regions, which significantly contributes to the relationship between adopting technology and work outcomes.
There is a growing concern that technological advances will lead to more inequality, especially in the regions that are not equipped for it. However, the findings of the report suggest that this can be avoided by proper investments in education and infrastructure.
The report underlines that to achieve better outcomes, it’s crucial to have the right management philosophy for human resources, along with a strong focus on investing in education and infrastructure.
Paving the Way for Positive Impacts of Job Automation
Effective automation should not replace human skills but enhance them. It should create fresh job prospects and enhance the overall quality of work.
Given this, urgent policy action is required. We need policies that anticipate risks and harness opportunities nationwide. Policymakers should delve deeper into the intricate factors driving good automation, considering both internal organisational dynamics and external environmental factors.
Engaging the perspectives of workers is crucial. Their insights can reshape our perception of technology. Listening to a diverse range of voices in technology adoption can ensure more equitable and widely accepted outcomes.
Furthermore, we cannot ignore how AI and automation may impact regional disparities, including access to good jobs. Policymakers must carefully examine their role in addressing these inequalities.
It’s also important to view AI as part of a larger ecosystem of automation technologies. The effects of automation on work and workers are far-reaching and growing. Addressing these impacts should be a top priority. Proper governance of AI and automation calls for a systematic, sociotechnical approach, allowing us to evaluate and respond to their diverse impacts.