Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more likely to enhance jobs by automating tasks rather than eradicating them. However, the potential effects of Generative AI are likely to differ significantly for men and women, found a new study from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The study titled ‘Generative AI and Jobs: Analysing Global Effects on Quantity and Quality of Employment’ proposes that the majority of occupations and sectors face only partial exposure to automation. They are more prone to being supplemented rather than entirely replaced by the latest advancements in Generative AI, like chatGPT.
The primary consequence of this technological advancement is anticipated to involve shifts in job quality, particularly concerning factors such as work intensity and autonomy, rather than causing widespread job loss.
Among various jobs, clerical work emerged as the category with the highest technological susceptibility. Approximately twenty-five per cent of tasks within this category were identified as having a substantial level of exposure, while over fifty per cent of tasks exhibited a moderate degree of exposure.
On the other hand, within occupational groups like managers, professionals, and technicians, only a minor portion of tasks were categorised as highly exposed, while around twenty-five per cent of tasks had a medium level of exposure.
Generative AI's gendered impact
According to the study's findings, the potential impacts of Generative AI are expected to vary notably between men and women. The study reveals that the proportion of female employment facing potential automation is more than double that of males. This discrepancy is attributed to the higher concentration of women in clerical roles, particularly in countries with moderate to high income levels.
Given that clerical positions have historically been a significant avenue of employment for women during countries' economic advancement, one potential outcome of Generative AI is the absence of certain clerical jobs in lower-income nations.
Generative AI's geographical impacts
Conducted on a global scale, the study underscores significant variations in how different countries are impacted, aligning with their developmental stages and technological disparities. It reveals that in high-income nations, approximately 5.5 per cent of the overall workforce faces potential exposure to the automation repercussions of this technology.
In contrast, low-income countries experience a notably lower risk of automation, affecting only around 0.4 per cent of employment. The prospects for job augmentation remain relatively consistent across countries. This implies that implementing appropriate policies could potentially enable developing nations to harness substantial advantages from this new phase of technological advancement.
The study also suggests that the socioeconomic repercussions stemming from Generative AI will primarily hinge upon the strategic management of its dissemination. It advocates for the formulation of policies that facilitate a structured, equitable, and inclusive transition process.
Essential components for effective management include prioritising the input of workers, offering skill development programs, and establishing comprehensive social safety nets. Neglecting these aspects could lead to the possibility that only a select few countries and market participants with adequate preparation will derive advantages from this emerging technology.
The authors of the study emphasise that the "outcomes of the technological transition are not pre-determined. It is humans that are behind the decision to incorporate such technologies and it is humans that need to guide the transition process."