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News » 4 industries at high risk for AI job disruption: McKinsey

4 industries at high risk for AI job disruption: McKinsey


NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — Artificial intelligence is expected to cause major disruptions in the job market over the next several years, according to a new report from McKinsey. The management consulting firm predicts around 12 million occupational transitions will occur in the U.S. by 2030 due to AI.

“Those four jobs will, kind of, be going away, and driving transitions,” Kweilin Ellingrud, a director at the McKinsey Global Institute, told Fortune.

“We talk about generative AI because it changes the nature of the work we do—it will affect about 30% of our activities, but it won’t eliminate our jobs. But for those four categories, it will.”

According to McKinsey’s latest research, these are the four major sectors that are likely to see significant job transformations by 2030 due to AI integration: administrative assistance, customer service or sales, food service, and production and manufacturing. 

However, there are also industries like healthcare, construction, and education that may experience job growth. This dichotomy underscores the uneven impact AI is expected to have across different sectors.

Gradual AI integration, not rapid job displacement

While AI may eventually automate certain roles entirely, the transition is expected to occur gradually over many years. McKinsey’s analysis suggests it could take until 2045 for half of today’s work activities to be automated, about a decade sooner than previous estimates.

Another research from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) analyzed the economic feasibility of automating visual tasks. Surprisingly, it found most at-risk jobs currently lack a clear business case for AI automation.

“This indicates a more gradual integration of AI into various sectors, contrasting with the often hypothesized rapid AI-driven job displacement,” says Neil Thompson, Principal Investigator at MIT CSAIL and the Initiative on the Digital Economy. 

The study estimated that only 23% of wages for visual tasks are economically viable to automate with AI right now. Thompson says while AI can replace human labor, many tasks still aren’t cost-effective to automate.

To remain competitive, workers will need to continuously adapt their skills, especially technological capabilities. 

AI’s potential for productivity growth, economic gains

While AI may disrupt many existing jobs, it also has the potential to drive significant productivity growth and economic gains. A recent Goldman Sachs report projected generative AI could contribute nearly $7 trillion to global GDP and boost productivity growth by 1.5 percentage points over the next decade. 

McKinsey & Company also predicted that the global economy is poised to benefit from the GenAI industry, with a $4.4 trillion annual contribution expected to generate in the coming years. 

The report reveals AI will significantly impact high-wage, highly educated knowledge workers, especially in decision-making and collaboration. Industries like sales, marketing, software engineering, and customer service stand to benefit most.

As Ellingrud stated, “Either change the number of workers, which is hard due to aging, or I invest in technology and AI, and change the equation of my output per worker.”

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