Leading Tech Companies Studying AI’s Impact On the Workforce

Leading tech companies are joining together to study the impact AI is likely to have on the workforce and what jobs may be most affected....
Leading Tech Companies Studying AI’s Impact On the Workforce
Written by Matt Milano
  • Leading tech companies are joining together to study the impact AI is likely to have on the workforce and what jobs may be most affected.

    The impact on the workforce continues to be one of the most controversial—and largely unknown—factors in AI adoption. Critics warn the technology could lead to mass layoffs as workers are replaced with AI, while proponents argue that AI is destined to compliment human workers, not replace them.

    Some of the biggest names in tech are working together to study the issue in the hopes of coming up with concrete conclusions “and identify new opportunities for reskilling and upskilling.” The group—named the AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workforce Consortium—is led by Cisco, with Accenture, Eightfold, Google, IBM, Indeed, Intel, Microsoft, and SAP joining.

    The Consortium says it “is catalyzed by the work of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council’s (TTC) Talent for Growth Task Force,” a cross-Atlantic task force aimed at shoring up US-EU cooperation on a range of issues, including AI. The Consortium says it is evaluating the impact AI is having on the workforce and what skills workers will need to remain successful.

    Working as a private sector collaborative, the Consortium is evaluating how AI is changing the jobs and skills workers need to be successful. The first phase of work will culminate in a report with actionable insights for business leaders and workers. Further details will be shared in the coming months. Findings will be intended to offer practical insights and recommendations to employers that seek ways to reskill and upskill their workers in preparation for AI-enabled environments.

    Consortium members represent a cross section of companies innovating on the cutting edge of AI that also understand the current and impending impact of AI on the workforce. Individually, Consortium members have documented opportunities and challenges presented by AI. The collaborative effort enables their organizations to coalesce insights, recommend action plans, and activate findings within their respective broad spheres of influence.

    The Consortium has established impressive goals for its individual members, including:

    • Cisco plans to train 25 million individuals in cybersecurity and digital skills by 2032.
    • IBM will train 30 million people in various digital skills by 2030, including 2 million in AI.
    • Intel will pave the way for 30 million people to gain AI skills by 2030.
    • Microsoft will train and certify 10 million people by 2025, with a focus on underserved communities.
    • SAP will upskill 2 million people by 2025.
    • Google is leveraging its already announced EUR 25 million in funding for AI training in Europe.

    “At the U.S. Department of Commerce, we’re focused on fueling advanced technology and deepening trade and investment relationships with partners and allies around the world. This work is helping us build a strong and competitive economy, propelled by a talented workforce that’s enabling workers to get into the good quality, high-paying, family-sustaining jobs of the future. We recognize that economic security and national security are inextricably linked. That’s why I’m proud to see the efforts of the Talent for Growth Task Force continue with the creation of the AI-Enabled ICT Workforce Consortium,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I am grateful to the consortium members for joining in this effort to confront the new workforce needs that are arising in the wake of AI’s rapid development. This work will help provide unprecedented insight on the specific skill needs for these jobs. I hope that this Consortium is just the beginning, and that the private sector sees this as a call to action to ensure our workforces can reap the benefits of AI.”

    “AI is accelerating the pace of change for the global workforce, presenting a powerful opportunity for the private sector to help upskill and reskill workers for the future,” said Francine Katsoudas, Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer, Cisco. “The mission of our newly unveiled AI-Enabled Workforce Consortium is to provide organizations with knowledge about the impact of AI on the workforce and equip workers with relevant skills. We look forward to engaging other stakeholders—including governments, NGOs, and the academic community—as we take this important first step toward ensuring that the AI revolution leaves no one behind.”

    If the Consortium is successful in its goals, it could provide some of the most comprehensive data yet on exactly what impact AI will have on the job force, both inside and outside the tech industry.

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