More women than men stand to lose their jobs by 2030 because of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, according to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute. The report found that nearly eight in 10 women will be forced to move to another company or lose their job due to AI and automation.
The study contends that lower-paying jobs will be the most affected by AI, noting that more women than men hold those positions. Industries that are expected to shrink the most are food services, customer service and sales, and office support. It further records that women who will be heavily impacted by AI development will need to expand their skill set to stay relevant in the workplace and move on to other positions.
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Black and Hispanic workers, workers without college degrees, and the youngest and oldest workers are also more likely to have to find new jobs by 2030, the study says. Across the low-wage industries, the report said 1.1 million jobs could be eliminated, but the number of higher-paying jobs could grow by upwards of 3.8 million.
Another report, the UNESCO EQUALS Skills Coalition (2019), estimated that, on average, around the globe, women are 25 percent less likely than men to know how to use information and communications technology (ICT) for basic purposes, such as using simple arithmetic formulas on a spreadsheet. Meanwhile, men are four times likelier than women to have advanced skills such as computer programming.
But Jessica Davis, a senior director at AI and news automation product, believes that AI will open more opportunities for women leadership in the field. Speaking last Sunday at Washington DC during a workshop on The Potential of AI in the Newsroom, Education, and Research: Practical Implementation Strategies, Ms Davis urged media houses to invest in AI too.
“AI is not going to replace journalists' jobs. In fact, it will make it better. Media houses should invest in AI. However, let them be socially responsible with information for authenticity and credibility. I hope we continue to harp on that. It's concerning and dangerous [that] you prompt these large language models and they feed you with information that you aren’t sure about the source and you present it as your truth without further probing. Let us be very keen on how we handle the information we get from automated machines. We’ve seen the blunders of AI when it’s used in place of people.”
On whether AI’s benefits outride the negatives, Ms Davis offers that AI is the solution for some things and not others. She argued that AI can augment work, rather than replace it, so teams might spend more time on creative, strategic, or collaborative thinking.
With multiple reports showing that more women are likely to lose their jobs to AI as compared to their male counterparts, there has been a consistent call on governments, the private sector, and other actors to make efforts and ensure women are not left behind in the digital economy. Organisations, citizens, policymakers, and academics are also increasingly encouraged to face this challenge of the future of work.