High-skilled jobs most exposed to AI, impact still unknown — Report

An employment outlook paper suggests that highly skilled professions are the most exposed to artificial intelligence, but its potential impact on employment is yet to be seen.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its latest employment report, which focuses on labor demand, as well as widespread shortages due to ongoing high inflation and resulting fiscal policies worldwide.

A key takeaway is covered in a chapter that explores why there is no significant sign of slowing labor demand due to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). Measures of AI exposure show that available tools have shown the most progress in areas requiring “non-routine, cognitive tasks such as information ordering, memorization and perceptual speed.”

The OECD says these are key qualities of occupations requiring significant training or tertiary education. The research goes on to label “high-skill, white collar jobs” as the most exposed to AI.

Business professionals, managers, chief executives and science and engineering professionals are listed as the main occupations exposed to AI capabilities. Meanwhile, food preparation assistants, agriculture, forestry and fishery laborers, and cleaners and helpers are named as the least affected occupations by AI.

The publication also takes an in-depth look at the evidence of the impact of AI on labor markets, noting that progress in space has been fast, making it hard to distinguish its outputs from those produced by humans.

The report states that the net impact of AI is ambiguous because while AI displaces some jobs, it can also stimulate labor demand by increasing productivity. AI also has the potential to create new tasks, which in part creates new jobs.

“AI will substitute for labour in certain jobs, but it will also create new jobs for which human labour has a competitive advantage.”

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Meanwhile, negative employment effects due to AI advances are hard to find. The OECD cites data that reflects high-skill workers seeing employment gains over the past decade compared with low-skilled workers.

The chapter also notes that its findings on the impact on specific job levels come before the advent of large language models like ChatGPT, noting that generative AI could further expand the scope of tasks and jobs that can be automated.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the AI sector has seen a surge in job seekers, with Google searches for AI jobs four times higher than searches for crypto jobs during the 2021 bull run. 

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