Artificial intelligence has not caused loss of jobs

Study finds less than a quarter of firms that introduced AI had seen an overall loss of roles

Less than a quarter (22 per cent) of firms that have introduced AI technology over the last five years say that it has led to a net loss of jobs, according to a recently published study by the University of Warwick’s Institute of Employment Research and the University of Sussex Business School.

Academics collected data from 759 respondents via a YouGov panel in 2018, and found that 22 per cent of firms that introduced AI had seen net job destruction, where the number of jobs lost is higher than the number created. 

It found that AI technology is more likely to be disruptive to job numbers than other non-AI based technology: 4 per cent of respondents that had introduced other forms of technology in their organisation saw net job destruction, while 9 per cent of those organisations saw net job creation.

The study, which compiled data from business leaders in organisations with more than 10 employees across the private, public and third sectors, found that AI is 28 percentage points more likely to be linked with job creation than other forms of technology, but also 26 percentage points more likely to be associated with job destruction than other technologies.

It also found that of the 81 per cent of respondents who had introduced a form of new technology over the past five years (up to 2018), a quarter (25 per cent) had introduced AI-enabled technology; 69 per cent had introduced new IT hardware; and 59 per cent had introduced new online networking platforms. 

Dr Wil Hunt, research fellow at the Institute of Employment Research, said the study points to the need to focus on AI’s potential for job creation through labour saving and improved productivity levels: “Future research would do well to pay heed to specific applications of AI and the motivations behind adoption as well as the scale of job creation and destruction effects.”