While many in the world of work are curious about how generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) will change their careers, Asian American/Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and older workers tend to be in jobs with the highest potential exposure to GenAI, a new report finds.
On the flip side, workers who are male, age 16 to 24, and/or Hispanic tend to work in fields GenAI is less likely to disrupt, according to the report from Indeed. It is the latest in a series of research reports from Hiring Lab, Indeed's economic research arm.
Indeed's new report was released Oct. 26. It builds on a report it released in September, and GenAI performance ratings derived from the September report, that found many jobs most in demand in today's tight labor market have the least potential exposure to GenAI. "Exposure" is the percentage of skills needed for a particular job that can be performed using GenAI.
In general, researchers noted, a person's job is the best indicator of how exposed they will be to AI—not their race, gender and age.
"While [AI's] impact is likely to be widespread, the magnitude of potential changes is not," Indeed economist Cory Stahle told SHRM Online. "Some jobs and workers may see greater transformation as a result of these tools; whether those changes are positive or negative remains to be seen."
"For employers," Stahle added, "understanding the current inequities that exist in the labor market and workers who are exposed most to these budding technologies will be key to guiding decisions around responsible/ethical use of AI [and] worker training and can lead to more equitable outcomes for workers of all backgrounds."
The global jobs site also noted in its October AI at Work Report that it's important workers "know how their exposure to GenAI is likely to change as they move throughout their careers, advancing through the ranks and/or periodically changing fields altogether."
Areas Where AI May Make the Biggest Changes
Mathematics and computers, which includes roles like software developer and data scientist, is a good example of a sector that GenAI is well poised to disrupt, because it's "good" or "excellent" at performing 95 percent of the skills inherent to the field, Indeed noted in its October report.
"Because AAPI workers are far more concentrated in a field that is known to be far more ripe for potential disruption than others, the average exposure of AAPI workers is pushed up," Indeed reported.
Older workers also are more likely to see GenAI impact their jobs.
As employees progress into their mid-career years, they tend to move into jobs that require skills more exposed to GenAI. Those jobs also require experience and possibly an advanced degree, technical certification or specialized license—factors associated with older workers.
"As workers age and the types of jobs for which they are qualified change, so too does their potential exposure to GenAI—from relatively limited in their earliest working years, to more exposed by their mid-career years, to somewhat less exposed again when they are at their oldest," wrote Annina Hering, economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, in the October report.
Areas That Are Insulated from AI
Jobs that employ a large share of workers ages 16 to 24, including food preparation and service, generally have less exposure to GenAI.
"Because many of these younger workers have limited professional experience and/or have not yet completed their education, they tend to cluster in roles where advanced skills are not as necessary," the report said.
Hering wrote that the differences in potential GenAI exposure among men and women are far less pronounced. Women are only slightly more likely than men to work in fields moderately or highly exposed to GenAI (73 percent and 68 percent, respectively). A slightly higher share of men than women are in jobs with the highest level of potential exposure (13 percent versus 11 percent, respectively).
Among the 10 most common jobs for men and women, both "are well-represented in the kinds of hands-on or socially intensive jobs that GenAI tends to perform more poorly," such as construction work, nursing and home-health tasks, Hering pointed out in the report.
Hispanic workers are employed in occupations with the least potential exposure.
"Who a worker is—their age, gender and/or race—is not nearly as big an indicator in determining the level of their potential exposure to GenAI as what that worker does," Hering wrote.
"An AAPI truck driver, for example—one of the occupations least exposed to GenAI—has the exact same level of exposure to GenAI as a Black, white, or Hispanic driver."
Svenja Gudell, Indeed's chief economist, called GenAI "a powerful leap in technology that will impact all jobs, particularly those within the tech sector and the labor market as a whole."
Jobs involving beauty and wellness, caregiving and cooking, cleaning and sanitation, and driving vehicles such as trucks and taxis will be least impacted.
How people will work "will inevitably change as GenAI gains wider adoption," Indeed said in its September report. GenAI tools will replace or augment certain tasks now done by humans. Rather than replace an entire job, though, GenAI more likely will prompt employers to rework or reimagine the work being performed.
Gudell said she sees GenAI more "as a tool to augment or streamline parts of a job," prompting the creation of new jobs and changing how people work as GenAI gains wider adoption.
[SHRM tools and resources: What Is Artificial Intelligence and How Is it Used in the Workplace?]
Data from Indeed's September report comes from more than 55 million postings on Indeed's site in the U.S. between August 2022 and July 2023. Using the postings, Indeed identified more than 2,600 individual skills and categorized them into 48 skill families. It asked ChatGPT 4.0 to rate its ability as "poor, fair, good or excellent" for each skill within a skill family. Indeed used that information to determine a job's low, moderate or high GenAI exposure levels.
GenAI rated itself "excellent" at only four of 48 skill families, "good" at 16, and "poor" or "fair" at 28. GenAI said it was "good" or "excellent" at 80 percent or more of all skills in less than a fifth—or about 20 percent—of all job postings analyzed.
"Jobs are essentially a collection of skills, combined to create a whole job posting," Indeed pointed out. There are some skill areas GenAI is incapable of performing or performs poorly, including those requiring human intuition or advanced reasoning and those requiring manual dexterity or physical presence.
- More than one-third of jobs (35 percent) face the lowest potential exposure to GenAI.
- Many jobs most in demand from employers today are among those with the least potential exposure to GenAI-driven change. Twenty of the 25 most common jobs posted on Indeed face a lower potential exposure to GenAI than the average job posting.
- The higher the likelihood a job.