As 2024 begins, many Americans are becoming familiar with the amount of day to day interaction they are having with Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Unfortunately though, as AI in making some aspects of our lives a little easier, it is also making it possible for employers to replace workers with the ever expanding technology.
According to the talent solution company’s 2023 Global Severance research report, 92% of employers are expecting additional headcount cuts. And most organizations, the survey found, are not prepared to help their workforces manage those cuts.
“Post-COVID things have continued to shift and change,” says Lindsay Witcher, senior vice president of Randstad RiseSmart.
“Many companies over-hired after the pandemic when the economy had really softened, and now they’re sort of left in this challenging position of needing to make some changes to their operating expenses which often comes in the form of layoffs.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, released on 15 December, projected a rise in the unemployment rate from 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent by the year’s end, also meaning millions of Americans will lose their jobs.
The report, titled ‘Current View of the Economy From 2023 to 2025’, also forecasted a slowdown in the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth from 2.5 percent in 2023 to 1.5 percent in 2024, as a result of economic adjustments and policy changes.
The CBO, a nonpartisan office that provides economic analysis for Congress, attributed the expected deterioration in the economic conditions to several factors, including weaker consumer spending, lower nonresidential investment, and reduced exports.
In addition, four in 10 companies say artificial intelligence is likely to replace some employees in 2024.
Among companies that currently use AI, 37% say they already laid off workers this year because they were no longer needed, according to a new ResumeBuilder.com survey released Wednesday.
Customer support is the top use for businesses that currently use AI or plan to start using it next year, according to the national survey of 750 business leaders representing multiple industries.
“Employing people full time to do customer service is expensive, so we’re seeing AI take over the chat. It’s AI first, and when you have a more complicated issue it goes to a person,” said Julia Toothacre, a resume and career strategist with ResumeBuilder. “It’s taking out the front-line customer service, which is great from an efficiency and financial standpoint, but not from a jobs standpoint. It’s a double-edged sword.”
Conducting research and creating document summaries are the second and third most popular uses for companies that already incorporate AI or plan to in 2024.
“I don’t think those two will necessarily replace people,” Toothacre said. “It will allow for more efficiency.”
While 44% of the companies surveyed expected AI would lead to layoffs in 2024, almost all of the businesses that plan to hire in 2024 say candidates will benefit from having AI skills.
“Employees need to find ways to grow their skills and stay relevant in their field if they don’t want their job to be given to AI,” Toothacre said.