Home » 1.5M UK jobs now at risk from AI, report finds

1.5M UK jobs now at risk from AI, report finds

Some 11% of job tasks in the UK are currently at risk of AI replacement, a new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found. In the worst case scenario, this translates to a loss of 1.5 million jobs — without any GDP gains.

IPPR’s analysis showed that the impact is mostly evident on routine cognitive tasks, such as database management, as well as organisational and strategic tasks, such as inventory management or scheduling.

Back-office, entry-level, and part-time jobs are the ones mostly exposed, with employees on medium and low wages being at the greatest risk.

IPPR paints an even grimmer picture for a future where generative AI becomes more deeply integrated into the labour market. The technology could replace 59% of job tasks, resulting in a loss of up to 7.9 million jobs in the worst case scenario.

AI replacement “not inevitable”

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“Technology isn’t destiny and a jobs apocalypse is not inevitable — government, employers, and unions have the opportunity to make crucial design decisions now that ensure we manage this new technology well,” said Carsten Jung, senior economist at IPPR.

According to the institute’s best case scenario, jobs at risk of replacement can be augmented to adapt to AI instead, which can contribute £92bn per year to the GDP. In an even more AI-based future, this number could rise to £306bn per year.

A mutually beneficial human/AI relationship like that could also increase employee wages and address labour shortages in under-resourced professions.

Experts have argued that AI can be a force for good in the labour market — as long as it goes hand in hand with rebuilding workforce skills.

“It’s imperative to invest in training.

“Any existing jobs will have to incorporate AI into their workflow,” Michal Szymczak, Head of AI Strategy at Zartis, a Cork-based software and AI consultancy, told TNW.

Szymczak believes that AI will also create as many jobs as it will take. “To put it another way, AI itself isn’t going to take our jobs, but a human using AI effectively certainly will,” he said.

According to Jaeger Glucina, MD and Chief of Staff at London-based legal AI company Luminance, the UK has the potential to prepare its workforce for this paradigm shift.

“It’s imperative to invest in training, reskilling, and early AI education to ensure that both the current and future workforce are adept at navigating this emerging digital landscape,” Glucina told TNW.

For its part, the IPPR is calling for government policies that will support green jobs, regulatory changes, and fiscal measures such as subsidies that can encourage job augmentation over full displacement.

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