A significant concern for women arises as automation and artificial intelligence advancements are predicted to replace nearly one-third of working hours in the US economy, posing a greater threat to them compared to men.
This is one of the excerpts from a new report by the research department of consultants McKinsey & Co., which examines the development of the US labor market until the end of 2030.
It was calculated that women are 1.5 times more likely to move to a new profession than men during this period. The reason: They’re overrepresented in industries with low-paying jobs, and automation, including office support and customer service, is the most affected, according to the report. Blacks and Hispanics are also adversely affected as the demand for food and production workers decreases.
Overall, the McKinsey Global Institute said at least 12 million workers in the U.S. will need to change occupations by the end of 2030. Part of the turnover comes from the pursuit of zero emissions, which disrupts millions of jobs.
What is worrying, said institute director Kweilin Ellingrud, is that turnover is concentrated among low-wage workers. They are up to 14 times more likely to need to change occupations than the highest paid, and most need additional skills to do so.
White-collar workers—everyone from lawyers and teachers to financial advisors and architects—are among those most affected by the spread of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, according to the report. But McKinsey argued that this will largely lead to changes in how these jobs are done, rather than massive job losses.
“It’s probably not such a catastrophic thing,” Michael Chui, a partner at the institute, said. But “it changes almost every job.”
About 3.5 million jobs could be wiped out as the U.S. moves to end greenhouse gas emissions, with workers in oil and gas production and the auto industry taking a hit, the report said.
But McKinsey argued that it would compensate – to the tune of around 700,000 jobs – with gains from increased renewable energy, mainly through capital investment in new plants, charging stations and the like.
The energy transition, combined with rising public infrastructure costs, will increase the demand for construction workers, who are already in short supply. McKinsey sees employment in the construction industry growing by 12 percent from 2022 to 2030.
According to the institute, if the restructuring of jobs is handled correctly in the coming years, it could lead to a huge increase in productivity and wealth in the USA. Under what Ellingrud concedes is a “rather optimistic” scenario, the report suggests annual productivity growth could potentially rise to 3-4%. It is now around 1%.
To get there, however, “the US needs workforce development on a much larger scale,” McKinsey said.