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Expert comment: AI poses great threat to unemployment

Tara O'Sullivan, CMO at Skillsoft

Company Profile

Skillsoft

"The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will shake up employment.  Yet, it will be women who bear the brunt of the implementation of these technologies.  According to estimates by the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis, twice as many women as men will lose their jobs because women are typically working in areas that are most likely to be automated.  We’re talking jobs like cashiers, office and administrative roles.  

The World Economic Forum also identified that in absolute terms, men will face nearly 4 million job losses and 1.4 million gains, approximately one job gained for every three jobs lost, whereas women will face 3 million job losses and only 0.55 million gains, more than five jobs lost for every job gained.  

How do we start to fight back?  It’s all about education.  I believe it is the employer’s responsibility to reskill and upskill their employees.  We cannot allow millions of women to be laid off without offering an alternate career.  We need to provide employees with access to learning which they take can take at their own pace, where and when it suits them, and offer them various options of how to learn – including videos, ebooks and audiobooks.  I believe in the future the most successful employers will have the best learning solution as part of their offering.  Just like companies talk about their pension, health insurance or vacation policy to attract the right talent, it will become necessary for companies to demonstrate how to grow your skills."