Generative AI is set to disrupt the US workforce in the coming decade, leading to around 12 million job switches and potentially automating 30% of work hours in the economy, according to McKinsey Global Institute. The rise of generative AI is expected to prompt approximately 11.8 million workers to seek new career paths, with nine million individuals needing to explore entirely new industries. While some individuals may face job displacement, others may be attracted to higher-paying sectors or fields where their skills are in high demand, the report stated.
The healthcare sector, which already has 1.9 million job openings as of April, is anticipated to add roughly 5.5 million new jobs by 2030. Additionally, there is expected to be a 23% surge in demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs in the next few years, driven by the widespread integration of AI in various industries beyond the tech sector.
However, with the proficiency of generative AI in administrative tasks, positions such as office support and customer service are predicted to experience declines in demand by 18% and 13% respectively by 2030. The food service sector, on the other hand, is expected to see a smaller decrease of 2% during the same timeframe.
It is worth noting that automation adoption does not equate to job elimination, as many roles with automatable tasks will remain. However, the nature of work and how it is performed will undergo significant changes. Individuals who continue in their current jobs will experience a dramatic transformation, as generative AI is projected to automate around 30% of their work hours. This marks an increase from the current technologies, which could automate roughly 22% of work hours among US employees.
The expanded automation can be attributed to AI technologies like ChatGPT and other tools that possess the ability to perform tasks requiring genuine expertise and even creativity, which earlier technologies could not achieve.
McKinsey’s analysis indicates a potential loss of 1.1 million jobs with salaries of $38,200 or less, but a 3.8 million increase in jobs offering salaries of $68,700 per year. However, lower-paid workers, earning $38,200 or less, will be significantly impacted, with up to 14 times greater likelihood of requiring job changes.
The introduction of generative AI raises certain concerns, including how reduced job demand for office support roles may disproportionately affect women. Furthermore, reduced demand for customer service and food service positions could pose heightened risks for Black and Hispanic employees, McKinsey highlighted.
Therefore, while generative AI is expected to bring forth significant changes in the US workforce, it is crucial to maintain a balanced perspective, considering the potential benefits and challenges that arise.