Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming industries, creating new possibilities and challenges for early career professionals and interns. We are going to explore AI and the future of work, how it’s being reshaped, and why it’s crucial to understand the implications of AI on job prospects, skills, and strategies.
The job landscape
AI has the potential to reshape the job market significantly. According to the World Economic Forum, around 85 million jobs could be replaced by AI by 2025. Technological advancements, rising costs and wages, tight labour markets, and reduced consumer spending contribute to the automation of jobs. Retail is particularly vulnerable, with an estimated 65% of retail jobs at risk of being automated in the coming years.
Looking ahead, PwC estimated, “Using a more refined version of the OECD methodology, we concluded that up to 30% of UK jobs could be impacted by automation by the 2030s.” Further, The Brookings Institution provided a deeper insight, highlighting the hurdles AI presents, which could exacerbate gender disparity in the job market.
It stated, “Estimates of the differential impact of automation on men and women’s jobs may vary, but researchers broadly agree that women may benefit from job growth in the least automatable fields such as health care and education.”
Embracing AI and the future of work
Just because AI is become more commonplace, doesn’t mean we can’t keep up with it. Embracing AI and developing the skills necessary to take advantage of this transformative technology could greatly improve your career, rather than disrupt it. Here are a few practical strategies to adapt and succeed in the era of AI.
- Develop soft skills: AI excels at automation, but soft skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity are still valuable. For example, being able to analyse, reason, and solve problems creatively is in high demand.
- Build a network: Networking is essential for career growth. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with mentors who can provide guidance and support in your field.
- Focus on real-world experience: Seek internships, co-op programs, or part-time jobs that provide hands-on experience in your desired field. Practical experience will be invaluable as AI takes on more routine tasks.
- Cultivate emotional intelligence: AI may excel at data analysis, but interpersonal skills will remain important. Work on developing emotional intelligence, communication, teamwork, and leadership abilities.
- Keep learning: Make continuous learning a habit. Seek out new knowledge, take online courses, attend workshops or seminars, and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your field. Build on your existing skills and hone new ones.
- Human interaction-heavy areas: Identify sectors or areas within your field where human interaction, empathy, and creativity are crucial. Develop expertise in these aspects to remain relevant alongside AI.
- Aim to keep growing: Embrace change and be open to new opportunities. Adopt a growth mindset that focuses on continuous improvement, adaptability, and resilience.
- Foster interdisciplinary skills: AI often bridges multiple disciplines. Broaden your skill set by exploring complementary areas such as data analysis, machine learning, UX/UI design, or business strategy. Having a diverse skill set will make you more adaptable and valuable.
- Learn about ethical implications: AI raises ethical and social concerns that need to be addressed. Familiarise yourself with the ethical considerations surrounding AI, such as bias in algorithms, data privacy, and job displacement. Knowledge of these issues demonstrates your awareness and commitment to responsible AI implementation.
- Embrace technology: Develop a strong understanding of emerging technologies and tools relevant to your field. Stay updated on AI trends and explore how they can be applied to your work.
- Learn to code: Familiarise yourself with programming languages commonly used in AI, such as Python and R. Acquiring coding skills will enable you to work with AI technologies more effectively.
The rise of AI presents both challenges and opportunities for early careers and interns. While job displacement is a concern, embracing AI and developing the right skills can lead to career advancement and success in the AI-driven job market.
Lifelong learning, soft skills development, agility, specialisation, and ethical awareness are essential for thriving in an AI-centric workplace. By proactively adapting to the changing landscape and leveraging AI as a tool, early career professionals can navigate the future of work with confidence and resilience.