AI will shrink workforces within five years, say company execs

Key Points:

  • Artificial intelligence expected to reduce workforce at thousands of companies in the next five years
  • 41% of executives anticipate reduced employment due to AI
  • Executives emphasize the need for re-skilling and redeployment to leverage AI technology


A recent global survey of 2,000 C-suite executives conducted by Swiss staffing firm Adecco Group and Oxford Economics revealed that 41% of respondents anticipate a reduction in their workforce due to the implementation of artificial intelligence technology over the next five years. The poll covered executives from 18 different industries and nine countries, reflecting the diverse impact AI is expected to have on white-collar and blue-collar jobs.


Denis Machuel, the CEO of Adecco Group, emphasized AI’s role as a significant disruptor in the labor market, calling for companies to prioritize reskilling and redeploying employees to maximize the benefits of technological advancements and minimize disruptions.


While 46% of executives indicated they would internally reallocate affected employees, two-thirds expressed plans to recruit individuals with AI skills rather than focusing on training their existing workforce on the technology. This strategic shift hints at the evolving landscape of employment dynamics driven by AI adoption.


Comparatively, the survey results present a more apprehensive outlook for employees than a prior study by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF’s analysis of over 800 global companies showcased that 25% anticipated job losses due to AI, but half believed that new job opportunities would emerge as a result of the technology.


Despite optimism surrounding the overall impact of technology on job creation, concerns linger among workers directly affected by AI-related layoffs. Companies like Dropbox and Duolingo have pointed to AI advancements as contributing factors to recent workforce reductions, underscoring the tangible consequences of technological automation.


Researchers at Goldman Sachs have raised alarm over the potential repercussions of generative AI on the job market, predicting a substantial impact on employment with up to 300 million full-time positions at risk globally. White-collar workers are particularly vulnerable to displacement in the face of increasing automation driven by advancements in AI technology.


As the business landscape continues to evolve with the integration of AI, the survey findings underscore the imperative for proactive strategies to navigate workforce transformations and harness the potential of emerging technologies while mitigating the social and economic challenges posed by widespread automation.



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