Jobs across most industries will likely be exposed and shaken up by the repercussions of artificial intelligence (AI) in the coming years.
How people work will inevitably change as AI, particularly generative AI, gains wider adoption, with tools augmenting or replacing certain tasks and forcing a rethink of some traditional work profiles.
But while some jobs may become partly or even fully automated, some jobs — especially those requiring personal care— cannot be easily replaced by algorithms.
Which jobs will likely see the most and the least impact from AI?
AI Job Loss Predictions: Risky and Safer Sectors
The evolving landscape of the workforce, particularly in the context of AI’s rise, is a topic of intense debate.
This pivotal moment marks a transformation in how labor costs are perceived and managed, with a keen focus on the interplay between automated systems and human capabilities.
Anna Tavis, a clinical professor in human capital management at New York University, commented on this shift:
“There is a heightened anticipation surrounding the potential labor cost efficiencies from adopting AI. While it is believed that AI might replace some jobs or parts of jobs currently performed by human workers, it is important to note that these expectations might be ahead of their time. Nevertheless, given AI advancements, companies are preparing for a major organizational shift.”
The research conducted by Hiring Lab for employment agency Indeed suggests a shift in the impact of technological advancements. While past innovations in computing and robotics mainly displaced manual labor, the rise of generative AI is expected to primarily affect ‘knowledge workers.’ As the technology continues to learn specific skills associated with certain roles, genAI can augment or transform some roles but not others.
Based on their latest AI job loss predictions, 19.8% of jobs face the highest potential exposure, while 34.6% face the lowest potential exposure.
AI Job Loss Statistics: How GenAI May Affect Sectors
By analyzing the number of skills listed in various job postings, Hiring Lab identified thematic skillsets that help define the occupations that are most and least exposed to potential change driven by AI.
So, what jobs will AI replace?
The research shows that AI algorithm-driven tools are the most proficient in software development, IT operations, helpdesk support, and mathematics. In contrast, they perform poorly in various manual and interpersonal tasks.
AI proficiency scores poorly in these skills — so job security may be safe for a while yet:
- Beauty and wellness
- Personal care and home health
- Food preparation and service
However, as the global labor market continues to adjust to the rise of remote working, the more likely a job can be done remotely, the higher the chance for a job loss due to AI.
An LLM Cannot Drive a Truck or Build a House
Among the 25 most common jobs posted on Indeed, 20 face a lower potential exposure than the average job posting. Truck driving roles face the least potential exposure to generative AI, only rated as “good” or “excellent” at 15% of truck driver skills.
The study concluded:
“Jobs with the least potential exposure to genAI (including driving, cleaning & sanitation, and beauty & wellness) are also those with the lowest ability to be done remotely. The higher the odds are that a job can be done remotely, the greater its potential exposure is to genAI-driven change.”
“Historically, these are not the kinds of jobs that have been subject to disruption through automation, more evidence that this round of technological evolution will affect different workers in different ways than in the past.
“While GenAI is relatively good at technical skills (and jobs), it is pretty bad at skills (and jobs) that require intuition, reasoning, and/or in-person, manual work,” the study showed.
This distinction may be somewhat obvious — given how generative AI works. For drivers, a large language model (LLM) of the type that powers many generative AI tools can plan a route on a map but not turn a steering wheel – although it is worth noting that other forms of AI will enable self-driving vehicles.
For software developers, however, job loss due to AI is much higher. LLMs are likely to be able to replace much of the human work that goes into writing an efficient line of code or preparing and summarizing technical documentation.
In the meantime, Cliff Jurkiewicz, vice president of global strategy at Phenom, an HR technology company, added to the perspective: “The retail and communications industries are going through massive technology upgrades. AI is driving expansion in tech. Like disruptive technologies before it, it is creating new roles and new skill requirements for existing roles.
“Tech professionals have an advantage. Their skill sets are highly marketable to the tremendous opportunities for tech roles in other industries. They also have the background and ability to simplify upskilling for the new AI-based roles. And these new AI roles are just the beginning, with others not far off on the horizon.”
Luckily, Some Skills are Uniquely Human
Broadly, the careers least likely to be affected by AI are those that require human empathy or manual dexterity and precision:
- Healthcare: While AI has vast potential in the healthcare sector – from drug discovery, assisting with diagnosis, remote surgery, and treatment to administrative tasks – it is unlikely to replace healthcare professionals. Doctors, nurses, therapists, and counselors rely heavily on interpersonal relationships and emotional intelligence, making many roles resilient to automation.
- Skilled trades: Skilled trades, such as electricians, plumbers, and mechanics, require a combination of manual dexterity, problem-solving, and adaptability. These professions often involve working in unpredictable environments, which AI struggles to navigate. Additionally, carpenters, blacksmiths, and glassblowers are highly skilled in their crafts, often producing unique, customized items unlikely to lead to AI job loss.
- Education: AI can assist in developing educational content and providing personalized learning and grading, but teachers, coaches, and other educators provide irreplaceable mentorship, guidance, and emotional support.
- Social and community services: Professions in social work, community outreach, and advocacy rely heavily on human relationships, empathy, and understanding. These jobs involve complex decision-making and problem-solving based on the unique needs of individuals and communities. AI tools can provide data and support, making these roles more efficient, it cannot replace the personal connections and judgment calls made by human professionals.
- Creative professions: The role of AI in generating creative content is highly controversial – fueling writers’ and actors’ strikes in Hollywood in part to limit the extent to which studios can replace them with AI-generated scripts and audio and video footage. But while AI can assist in generating content, it lacks the depth that human experience and emotional connection bring to creative output.
The job roles that fall in the middle of Hiring Labs’ analysis are the most interesting cases to study when determining the potential impact of generative AI on the future of work.
While retail jobs contain skills AI can perform well, such as developing strategies, algorithms cannot complete the person-to-person skills necessary for retail success.
AI has the potential to automate tasks across a range of industries, but some careers are more resilient to this disruption. The findings around the fields most and least exposed to potential generative AI-driven change indicate that this technological revolution will pose different challenges than earlier industrial and commercial automation stages.
Deep, expert, and uniquely human knowledge will likely stay in high demand. Instead of viewing AI as a threat to employment, individuals should focus on adapting and developing these uniquely human skills that are difficult for AI to replicate.
Alex Kotran, the CEO of aiEDU, expressed his understanding regarding the common apprehensions about AI, particularly in the context of job security: “Everything is changing fast, and when your livelihood could be impacted, that causes real worry.”
However, Kotran emphasized the potential of AI to enhance job satisfaction when combined with appropriate training and preparation: “With the right training and preparation, AI can actually empower people to do more fulfilling work – it’s a tool that will help professionalize various professions.”
“The key is ensuring employees have basic proficiency to effectively collaborate with AI systems rather than be impacted by them. We want to give people the confidence, skills, and agency to see AI as a force multiplier, not a robot coming for their job.”