AI Expected to Reduce Workforces in Next Five Years, Survey

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A recent global survey of C-suite executives conducted by Swiss staffing firm Adecco Group in collaboration with research firm Oxford Economics has shed light on the anticipated impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment trends over the next five years. The survey, encompassing insights from 2,000 executives across 18 industries and nine countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, and Japan, reveals that 41% of respondents anticipate a reduction in their workforces due to the adoption of AI technology.

Denis Machuel, chief executive of Adecco Group, emphasised the transformative potential of AI in the workplace, characterising it as a significant disruptor. He highlighted the importance for companies to proactively address the impending changes by prioritising workforce re-skilling and redeployment strategies to harness the benefits of this technological advancement while mitigating disruptions.

The survey also highlights executives’ intentions regarding workforce management in the face of AI-driven changes. Notably, 46% of respondents expressed plans to internally redeploy affected employees, underscoring a commitment to retaining talent within their organisations. Additionally, two-thirds of executives indicated their intention to recruit individuals with AI expertise, signalling a recognition of the growing demand for specialised skills in this domain.

While the survey presents a sobering outlook for some workers, contrasting with previous assessments suggesting a net positive impact of AI on job creation, the overarching sentiment among executives underscores the need for proactive measures to navigate the evolving landscape of work. Despite divergent perspectives, the consensus among industry leaders emphasises the imperative for organisations to adapt, innovate, and invest in human capital to thrive in an AI-driven future.

As AI continues to reshape industries and redefine traditional employment paradigms, the challenge for companies lies in striking a balance between leveraging technological advancements for productivity gains while prioritising the well-being and employability of their workforce. The evolving role of AI in the workplace prompts a critical dialogue on the future of work, highlighting the importance of proactive collaboration between industry stakeholders, policymakers, and labour advocates to ensure equitable and inclusive outcomes in the digital era.