Triangular chairs with a gleam of sun rays shining through.

'All is not lost' as IMF predicts impact of AI on jobs

Published on 15 January 2024

AI technology will create new roles and opportunities, with higher value placed on human emotional intelligence in the workplace, says international law firm RPC

Following the news that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts 40% of jobs will be impacted by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Patrick Brodie, head of the Employment, Engagement and Equality team at international law firm RPC, said:

Most tasks will be susceptible to automation

"A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that nearly 40% of all jobs will be affected by Artificial Intelligence.

"The mood music of job loses - because of the introduction of technology and automation, which now includes AI - has actually been with us since the 1960s. 

"Academics have over the years predicted the decline of routine rules-based and process driven roles.  Indeed, research within the last decade (and especially over the last year or so) has sounded more loudly the risk of tasks being replaced by AI. 

"Studies suggest that with the right combination of technologies most tasks and roles are susceptible to automation, including (with the rise of generative AI) many non-routine, creative and knowledge-based tasks.  These were seen until recently as the preserve of humans."

Being 'human' will become more important

"However, all is not lost.  New roles will be created.  And, equally, our unique human capacity for empathy, sympathy, kindness (even directness) will become more important.  Often, even within work, emotional intelligence (as much as the facts themselves) has a significant influence on the success of a project.  Afterall, why do so many of us follow 'charismatic' leaders?

"Increasingly more complicated and complex knowledge tasks (and the synthesis and creation of such knowledge) will be absorbed and delivered by AI and technology.  Workers will, arguably, drift from being knowledge workers to those that can communicate the meaning, relevance and influence of the knowledge produced. 

"There will be an increasing emphasis on individual resilience, self and social efficacy and approach to dealing with change and ambiguity. 

"There may well be an increased value placed on emotional intelligence, especially, if this is the one feature that is not, currently, within the domain of AI.  If this is right, it will be interesting to see how firms seek to identify, celebrate, advance and promote these skills.

"Leaders meanwhile will be required to have and to exercise greater human appreciation and engagement – gone are the days of simply telling people what to do.  

"Equally, there will be an increasing importance in leaders to communicate a clear vision of the future.  The vision will emphasise ambition but be embedded in a realistic appreciation of the future, including a balanced understanding, beyond the hype, of AI capability."

…but there is also a fear of the unknown

"The fear of many in the workplace (especially if a positive counter vision is not provided) is that AI, which is not understood, is all-consuming in its ability to change lives and remove jobs. 

"The language of an existential risk is prevalent.  And if AI becomes an increasing feature of a company's operational capabilities, workers will want to know what this means for their future. 

"If they don't understand what it means (especially if they don't have control over its effect) then anxiety about long term job security increases.  They will ask, 'Will I have a job and what does that job look like? '

"If the impact of AI on an organisation and its people is not explained or understood by workforces, then this risks building communal vulnerability with all its negative corporate side effects."