Here Are 4 Sectors Where US Workers May Lose Their Jobs To AI, As Per McKinsey

Here Are 4 Sectors Where US Workers May Lose Their Jobs To AI, As Per McKinsey

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A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that nearly 12 million American workers may find themselves needing to switch jobs by the year 2030. This shift is attributed to several factors, including the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), an ageing population, and the growing impact of e-commerce on employment in the United States. Unlike the recent trend of the “Great Resignation,” where workers voluntarily changed jobs for better pay and work-life balance, the study predicts that by 2030, approximately 11.8 million workers will be compelled to change careers, not out of choice but necessity. Of these, around nine million individuals may have to transition to entirely different industries.

The study’s co-author, Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, highlights four key categories where job levels are projected to decline significantly: office support, customer service and sales, food services, and production work, including manufacturing.

Unfortunately, this shift is expected to disproportionately impact lower-wage workers, making them up to 14 times more likely to face job transitions by 2030. On the other hand, the study suggests that higher-wage professions, especially in sectors like healthcare, technology, and transportation, are likely to experience considerable growth in demand.

The projected shifts in workforce demand are driven by several factors. First and foremost, the automation of jobs, partly attributed to the rise of generative AI technologies like ChatGPT, is estimated to potentially replace up to 30 per cent of current work hours by 2030. However, the researchers believe that generative AI will augment the work of professionals in fields such as STEM, creative industries, and business and legal sectors, rather than entirely replacing them. Nevertheless, the negative impact of automation is expected to be felt most strongly in the fields of office support, customer service and sales, and food services.

The ongoing surge in online shopping is another driving factor, leading to decreased demand for salespeople in brick-and-mortar stores but increased opportunities in transportation services and warehouse management.

Furthermore, as the American population ages, varying spending patterns across different age groups could lead to shifts in job demand. For example, the demand for healthcare workers may increase significantly to cater to the needs of an ageing population.

Despite the growth of the US manufacturing sector, the study suggests that productivity gains might reduce the overall workforce required in this industry. Nevertheless, the workers employed in this sector are expected to possess more advanced skills.

Regarding the potential impact on the US workforce, Chui suggests that retraining and reskilling initiatives could help mitigate negative consequences for vulnerable workers, especially those in lower-paid positions. This could potentially lead to better-paying job opportunities and benefit the overall labour market.

Chui remains optimistic about the country’s ability to navigate this transition successfully, provided there is a significant investment from companies, schools, and governments. He proposes a shift toward a more “skills-based labour market” during the hiring process, where specific skillsets are valued as much, if not more, than traditional college degrees.

In conclusion, Chui draws parallels to historical shifts in employment patterns, expressing confidence that with the right approach and optimistic spirit, the United States can overcome the challenges posed by these workforce changes.

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