AI Puts Jobs Mostly Held by Women at Risk, Study Finds

Some of the jobs most likely to be impacted by AI include bill collectors and payroll clerks, among others.

Women in the workforce may be at the greatest risk of job replacement due to advances in artificial intelligence, a new study from human resources analytics firm Revelio Labs indicates.

This is due to baked-in systemic bias within society, which pushes women into administrative or secretarial roles, the study's authors say.

If the study's conclusions play out as predicted, it wouldn't be the first time prejudices have been replicated or even strengthened by AI: We've previously covered a UN report on the subject of sexism in AI and within the tech ecosystem.

AI's Impact “Becomes Skewed Along Gender Lines”

To arrive at its conclusion, the Revelio Labs study first looked at a third-party study from National Bureau of Economic Research, which aimed to determine the job positions most threatened by AI in the near future.

Then, the researchers broke down the typical demographics of each position by gender, finding that women are more strongly represented in most of them.

β€œThe distribution of genders across occupations reflects the biases deeply rooted in our society, with women often being confined to roles such as administrative assistants and secretaries. Consequently, the impact of AI becomes skewed along gender lines.” -Hakki Ozdenoren, economist at Revelio Labs

Among others, the jobs in question included bill and account collectors, payroll clerks, and executive secretaries, according to Bloomberg.

AI Set to Disrupt Global Workforce

IBM is one of the higher-profile companies to pause hiring explicitly in order to consider replacing jobs with AI. The company may replace up to 7,800 jobs as a result.

Nearly half (47%) of today's business leaders and decision-makers say they are considering opting for AI tools as a replacement for hiring new employees, a Tech.co survey from earlier in this month revealed. A thin majority (52.8%) said that they would not consider it, but the impact of even a small percentage of businesses leaning into AI in order to slow hiring would still be felt by the economy.

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Tech layoffs have been in full swing since 2022, however, so placing the blame entirely on AI may not be fair. And we have yet to see if AI is truly up to the task of replacing flesh-and-blood workers once the current AI hype cycle runs its course.

Sexism in the global workforce and in the tech sector specifically, on the other hand, is well documented.

As Judy Wajcman, professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, put it in a 2020 Tech.co article: “Women should be equal partners in tech work. Not only because equal opportunities are a social justice issue, but also because it will ensure we get the best technology and the best data science.”

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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