1.5M UK jobs now at risk from AI, report finds

Key Points:

  • 11% of job tasks in the UK are at risk of AI replacement, potentially leading to a loss of 1.5 million jobs.
  • Back-office, entry-level, and part-time jobs are most exposed to AI replacement, especially for medium and low-wage employees.
  • AI can contribute significantly to GDP if jobs at risk are augmented to adapt to AI, potentially reaching £306bn per year.


A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) reveals that 11% of job tasks in the UK are at risk of AI replacement, potentially leading to the loss of 1.5 million jobs without any GDP gains. The impact of AI is most prominent in routine cognitive tasks like database management and organizational tasks such as inventory management.


Back-office, entry-level, and part-time jobs are particularly vulnerable, putting employees on medium and low wages at the greatest risk. IPPR warns of a future where generative AI could replace 59% of job tasks, resulting in up to 7.9 million job losses.


However, senior economist at IPPR, Carsten Jung, emphasizes that a jobs apocalypse is not inevitable, highlighting the opportunity for government, employers, and unions to make crucial decisions to manage the integration of AI technology effectively. In the best-case scenario, jobs can be augmented to adapt to AI, potentially contributing £92 billion annually to the GDP, with the possibility of reaching £306 billion in a more AI-centric future.


Experts suggest that a harmonious human-AI relationship can lead to increased employee wages, address labor shortages, and overall benefit the labor market if AI integration is accompanied by workforce skill development. Investments in training and reskilling are seen as essential to ensure the workforce can effectively navigate the digital landscape as AI becomes more prevalent.


Businesses are encouraged to prepare for AI transformation by incorporating AI into existing job workflows. While there may be concerns about AI displacing jobs, experts like Michal Szymczak from Zartis believe that AI can create as many jobs as it eliminates when used effectively by humans.


To navigate this paradigm shift successfully, Jaeger Glucina from Luminance advises investing in training, reskilling, and early AI education. IPPR calls for government policies supporting green jobs, regulatory changes, and fiscal measures aimed at encouraging job augmentation over full displacement.



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