The Artificial Intelligence revolution is already well underway and is having a huge impact on the job market. There is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) brings benefits – for example, it automates the repetitive, monotonous tasks that everyone hates at work – but it also threatens to eliminate jobs that involve doing those tasks. A recent research academic paper examines this double-edged sword.

Routine Jobs at Risk

The paper — titled “Artificial Intelligence: Its Impact on Employability” by researchers Rickardo Gomes and Meiriele Santos — explores how AI impacts both negatively and positively the labor market: while it eliminates roles that require mechanical tasks, it creates new opportunities in technology and technology-adjacent fields.

“The rapid advancement of AI has been observed in corporate and social contexts, and despite its negative and positive aspects, it is urgent to build bridges where everyone can benefit,” the authors say.

With the launch of more and more powerful AI models (such as ChatGPT 4 or Claude), the process seems to be in full progress.

The disruption is affecting many other job market sectors and changing the way many people do their jobs.

It has even reached sports and some creative professions such as content writing and copywriting, as companies prioritize cost-cutting over the quality of work.

Workers will have to adapt to remain relevant in the labor market. They warn that workers who don’t learn new skills might face a grim future: “These individuals, who previously performed repetitive tasks, will be even further marginalized from the job market.”

The positive side: New opportunities in the labor market

The rise of generative AI has positive impacts as well. AI is creating highly skilled employment opportunities in cutting-edge fields such as software development, data science and AI engineering.

In the extensive analysis “The Potentially Large Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Economic Growth,” Goldman Sachs predicts that AI will not only disrupt the labor market but also drive economic growth and create new jobs. Their research acknowledges that AI will replace some workers, but it will often complement and improve the work efficiency of many employees and give rise to professions that don’t even exist.

In the non-tech sector of the economy, from healthcare to the entertainment industry, AI already is already reshaping the way high-skilled workers do the their jobs. Experts in non-tech fields will also need to adopt and adapt to the new AI tools in their respective industries in order to remain relevant.

Developing the right skills

How can workers remain employable amid this technological tsunami? According to Gomes and Santos, they need to continuously develop a diverse skill set that combines technical capabilities with vital “soft” skills like emotional intelligence. To make their point, the authors use the concept of “Compensation Theory”:

“The Compensation Theory suggests that individuals can compensate for the lack of specific technical skills by developing other skills and characteristics, such as socio-emotional skills like motivation, creativity, perseverance, initiative, and resilience.”

In fact, professions that require social or emotional skills, roles that require complex decision-making, and customer service positions focused on building relationships with customers are less likely to be disrupted by AI. USC Marshall School of Business professor Peter Cardon predicts that “AI integration will demand that workplaces become even more human-centered,” thus increasing the value of uniquely human “soft-skills” at the workplace.

On the other hand, employees with AI skills are in high demand. In Europe, the highest-paying jobs are in AI, the need for AI and green roles is increasing, and new AI tech hubs are popping up to capitalize on the demand.

The transition will not be easy. Creating and maintaining an employable workforce will require a concerted effort. We will need to rethink our education models, promote lifelong learning opportunities, and develop inclusive policies to equip all members of society with future-proof skills.

As the researchers conclude, this revolution “necessitates evolution in both work processes and individual skills.” We will have to adapt, as we’ve been doing since humans started roaming the earth, and face the new challenges posed by a changing environment. That way, we’ll be in the position to view and use AI as a new tool rather than solely a threat to our employability.