In November 2022, OpenAI introduced ChatGPT, marking a significant moment in the public’s awareness of generative AI. Since then, the conversation has revolved around the potential implications of large language models (LLMs) on the workforce.
Many workers have expressed concerns about the future of their jobs, with global searches for “Is my job safe?” doubling towards the end of 2023.
Recent research by the World Economic Forum suggests that LLMs will transform job tasks rather than entire jobs, presenting opportunities for augmentation and growth.
However, over 40% of working hours could be subject to change, prompting businesses to navigate these shifts strategically to benefit both their organizations and employees. This article explores three crucial areas leaders should consider to manage this transformation.
Job transformation and displacement
One of the primary impacts of LLMs on the workforce lies in the automation of tasks that rely on routine and repetitive language use. Jobs heavily centered on these tasks may face a decline in demand. Conversely, LLMs have the potential to enhance roles requiring abstract reasoning and problem-solving skills.
To address this transformation, organizations must support their employees through any disruptions. Predictive analytics can help forecast which jobs are most likely affected by LLMs, empowering workers to make informed decisions about reskilling or transitioning to new roles.
This approach fosters employee trust and well-being and enhances performance and business accountability.
Creating an internal job marketplace can be an effective strategy, enabling employees to explore available opportunities and transition into new roles seamlessly. This provides growth opportunities for workers and allows firms to address talent shortages effectively. Fostering a culture that values and rewards job role flexibility can reduce anxiety surrounding job displacement, encouraging employees to embrace diverse work experiences and develop versatile skills.
Job quality enhancement
Concerns have arisen about whether LLMs will negatively impact job quality, inclusivity, and fairness. However, emerging data suggests that LLMs can improve job quality by freeing up time for creativity, problem-solving, and independent decision-making.
To ensure this positive outcome, organizations should involve workers in the governance of LLMs, engage diverse teams in their development, and promote awareness of the benefits of these new tools.
LLMs are most effective when developed and used by multidisciplinary teams with various skills and perspectives, helping reduce bias and implement necessary operational changes.
Transparent and inclusive governance is essential for effective LLM deployment and building trust. Establishing frameworks that guide LLM design and use through participative decision-making, employee feedback, and ongoing assessment and refinement can contribute to successful implementation.
Skilling and learning
According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2023, business leaders estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years. Therefore, training initiatives must focus on skills expected to grow the most, including analytical skills, creative thinking, technology literacy, and lifelong learning.
Businesses can address these challenges by enhancing LLM fluency among their workforce through courses that explain the technology’s potential and limitations. This enables employees to understand how their jobs will evolve, how to leverage AI, and how it benefits the organization.
Work-based learning opportunities, such as apprenticeships and temporary assignments, prove effective in keeping employees’ skills current while fostering a culture of lifelong learning.
In addition to literacy and skilling programs, businesses should adopt a skills-first approach to upskilling and hiring. This approach prioritizes competencies over degrees or previous job titles when evaluating candidates for specific roles. Studies have shown that companies adopting this approach are 36% less likely to encounter talent and skills shortages.