Where Automation Will Displace the Most Workers

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Where Automation Will Displace the Most Workers

The AI era may repeat the same big-picture patterns of the IT era, but it could diverge from the past in some key ways. To forecast the future, the authors used Mckinsey Global Institute’s methodology and analyzed the type of tasks an occupation requires workers to do, to determine what share of these tasks could potentially be taken over by machines in the next decade or so.

They found that AI-era automation will likely affect every occupation, but, like the IT-powered wave before it, it may only have a muted effect on the overall employment levels. Still, that effect will probably differ based on industry. Around 25 percent of U.S. jobs could face high exposure to automation, 36 percent may experience medium exposure, and 39 percent may see low levels, the authors estimate.

In a departure from past automation waves, the jobs likely to be affected in the AI era won’t be mid-level positions. They’ll be lower-wage ones in fields such as construction, maintenance, transportation, agriculture, and food preparation. These are jobs that don’t require a high level of education and have often been performed by young, male workers of color.

They found that AI-era automation will likely affect every occupation, but, like the IT-powered wave before it, it may only have a muted effect on the overall employment levels. Still, that effect will probably differ based on industry. Around 25 percent of U.S. jobs could face high exposure to automation, 36 percent may experience medium exposure, and 39 percent may see low levels, the authors estimate.

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