Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 10 - Page 37

+ EDITOR’S QUESTION TARA O’SULLIVAN, CMO AT SKILLSOFT W e’ve all heard the shocking statistics – one Oxford report suggested that 47% of jobs in the US are under threat of automation in the next two decades. A 2017 McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that automation and other technology could result between 400 and 800 million people losing their jobs to machines and that globally, up to 375 million workers may need to switch job titles. Undoubtedly, the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will shake up the job market. What I want to look at is how women will fare in this new AI world. According to estimates by the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis, twice as many women as men will lose their jobs because women are typically working in areas that are most likely to be automated. We’re talking jobs like cashiers, office and administrative roles. I believe the future for educated women is positive. As gender bias becomes more and more unacceptable; the pay gap will close and it will become commercial suicide not to have a diverse board. Educated women will do well. The World Economic Forum predicts that those women already in disadvantaged groups – older women, women lacking education or formal qualifications, rural women and immigrant women – could have a very different experience. The World Economic Forum also identified that in absolute terms, men will face nearly 4 million job losses and 1.4 million gains, approximately one job gained for every three jobs lost, whereas women will face 3 million job losses and only 0.55 million gains, more than five jobs lost for every job gained. The issue is not that we will lose jobs to AI and we will have to spend time and money reskilling and upskilling our people, it’s that these losses will be felt most heavily and harshly by women, as they usually hold the types of lower-skilled positions that are more easily replaced by automation. ///////////////// How do we begin to fight back? It’s all about education. I believe it is the employer’s responsibility to reskill and upskill their employees. We cannot allow millions of women to be laid off without offering an alternative career. We need to provide employees with access to learning which they can take at their own pace, where and when it suits them and offer them various options of how to learn – including videos, ebooks and audiobooks. I believe that in the future, the most successful employers will have the best learning solution as part of their offering. Just like companies talk about their pension, health insurance or holiday policy to attract the right talent, it will become necessary for companies to demonstrate how to grow your skills. “ TWICE AS MANY WOMEN AS MEN WILL LOSE THEIR JOBS BECAUSE WOMEN ARE TYPICALLY WORKING IN AREAS THAT ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AUTOMATED. INTELLIGENTCIO 37