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Women’s jobs hit hardest by AI

Researchers say women workers are more at risk of losing their jobs to artificial intelligence than men.
Women’s jobs hit hardest by AI.

Researchers say women workers are more at risk of losing their jobs to artificial intelligence than men.

That’s because men and women are not evenly spread across industries and roles. Women are more likely to work in jobs that can be automated with AI.

Last year Mark McNeilly, professor of the Practice of Marketing at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School wrote that eight out of ten women are in roles that are “highly exposed” to AI while the same applies to six out of 10 men.

Here, highly exposed means between a quarter and a half of the tasks in a role can be automated using today’s AI.


A separate study based on LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, which identifies trends across its one billion members, found that 36 per cent of women will have their jobs disrupted by AI, compared with 26 per cent of men.

“Women tend to be over-represented in roles more susceptible to disruption by generative AI, such as medical administrative assistant and legal assistant, whereas men are over-represented in roles potentially augmented by generative AI, such as electrical and mechanical engineer”.

Recent research in Australia and reported in The Australian (not linked here because of the paywall) found:

“... 7.2 million employees – about half Australia’s total workforce – will need to re-skill and adapt to generative AI, with 3.3 million having their roles augmented by the technology while 3.9 million will face disruption. The remaining half of the workforce is expected to be largely unaffected by AI.”

You can read ‘disruption’ as meaning ‘likely to lose their jobs”.

Last year, another report, this time from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which is the United Nations agency that develops standards for the world of work.

The front line

Like the other research it found that clerical workers are in the front line, but away from rich countries that has other implications.

Historically as poorer countries develop economically, women enter the formal workforce by taking on clerical roles.

The ILO warns that one potential result of AI could be those clerical jobs that lift women out of poverty may now never emerge in lower-income countries.

Which not only makes it harder for women in those countries to enter the workforce, but it will have a huge impact on families.

Soft skills

It’s not entirely negative for women.

The Australian report goes on to say that more women than men have what it calls ‘soft skills’ which include communication, teamwork and adaptability.

These are skills where demand is expected to rise as more companies look to combine “people skills” with AI literacy.

Which means women are most likely to be displaced, but, on the whole those who are displaced are likely to do better than men at finding alternative jobs.