IBM Study Predicts People Who Use AI Will Replace People Who Don’t

Pamela Connellan
on 25 September 2023

Right now, the AI revolution has reached a turning point and to back this up, a new global study by the IBM (NYSE: IBM) Institute for Business Value (IBV), predicts that AI won’t replace people—but people who use AI will replace people who don’t.

The study also predicts that 39% of the workforce will need to reskill as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years.

The IBM study found that structuring work strategically will be the secret to success at this time. As AI ups its IQ,, executives are grappling with the implications. Rapid advancements in AI promise to upend traditional business models—and transform the work employees do every day.

The study predicts that 39% of the workforce will need to reskill. The World Bank estimates there are 3.4 billion people in the global workforce so this means roughly 1.4 billion people will need to be reskilled in the near term. That’s a lot of people and a lot of reskilling, but the IBM study – called Augmented Work for an Automated, AI-driven Worldfound it will be necessary because AI is primed to take on more manual and repetitive tasks in the workplace.

IBM AI Study

Here are some excerpts from the study:

In response to this study, some business leaders are rushing to reorganise, elevating new skills and specialties while deprioritising those that have become obsolete. Others are focused on hiring, trying to stock up on next-gen talent to close the skills gap. These are appropriate short-term tactics, but they don’t address the bigger issue on the horizon – the fact that many of the tasks people are doing today won’t be needed in the enterprise of tomorrow.

AI and automation are creating a new division of labour between humans and machines. The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts this evolution will disrupt 85 million jobs globally between 2020 and 2025—and create 97 million new job roles.

This radical shift is ushering in a new age. We call it the age of the augmented workforce—an era when human-machine partnerships boost productivity and deliver exponential business value. Yet, this evolution is also widening the global skills gap. The WEF predicts that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted between 2023 and 2028—up nine percentage points from its last five-year projection.

Generative AI could push this figure even higher. A recent IBM Institute for Business Value (IBM IBV) survey found that 4 in 5 executives say generative AI will change employee roles and skills. However, only 28% of the CEOs in the IBM 2023 CEO Study have assessed the potential impact of generative AI on their current workforce.

While workers at all levels will feel the effects of generative AI, lower-level employees are expected to see the biggest shift. More than three in four executives say entry-level positions are already being
impacted, while only 22% say the same for executive or senior management roles. As AI continues to evolve, its effects will likely intensify across the board, including at the managerial and executive ranks. No level is immune to the impact. This will force executives to rethink job roles, skill sets, and how work gets done.

The IBM Study reached these conclusions

Overall, generative AI will augment far more employees than it will replace—87% of executives believe job roles are more likely to be augmented than automated. In this environment, AI has the potential to transform the employee experience. It can automate mundane tasks, letting people focus on what they are passionate about, and create exciting new job roles and career paths.

However, employees may think that, by partnering with AI, they are training their replacements. Leaders can combat this initial resistance by highlighting how AI can help people focus on more meaningful work—
which is something employees crave.

Digital transformation is rife with technical challenges. Moving to the cloud, automating workflows, and adopting AI comes with a whole host of cybersecurity, IT, and data management issues. As leaders tackle this intimidating to-do list, talent transformation often gets bumped to the bottom.

But people’s priorities can’t always be pushed to the back burner. Creating strong human-machine partnerships—and a truly augmented workforce—is necessary to take advantage of the technology that can offer a competitive edge.

A new approach to talent can help organizations integrate digital workers, hybrid cloud platforms, intelligent workflows, and agile ways of working in a way that empowers people to perform at the top of their game.

But to get there, organizations need to do the hard work of real talent transformation. We’ve outlined four actions you can take to align your tech investments with strategy—while putting people first:

  1. Prioritize with purpose.
  2. Lead with the operating model.
  3. Make work more rewarding.
  4. Invest in talent as much as technology

To view the full study you can visit here.

Study methodology

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) is IBM’s thought leadership think tank. The IBV combines global research and performance data with expertise from industry thinkers and leading academics to deliver insights into world business. For more information about the IBV, you can visit here.

The IBV carried out this study, in cooperation with Oxford Economics, by surveying 3,000 global C-suite executives across 20 industries and 28 countries from all major regions in December 2022 and January 2023 about job roles, skills and how work gets done.

The IBV also surveyed nearly 370 executives from Australia, Germany, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States in April and May 2023 about jobs and skills in the context of generative AI, and 300 executives from the US about generative AI’s impact on labour.

In addition, the IBV surveyed over 21,000 workers across 22 countries in December 2022 to understand their expectations and motivations for work arrangements, career mobility, and the overall employee experience.

How these changes will affect the Australian workforce

Managing Partner for IBM Consulting Australia and New Zealand, Ian Abraham, said: “As AI continues to pervade all aspects of enterprises, people remain a core competitive advantage for businesses, but leaders face a multitude of talent-related challenges.”

Abraham added: “The businesses of tomorrow cannot run with yesterday’s talent – and tomorrow’s talent cannot be plugged into yesterday’s ways of working. Leaders have to be at the helm of navigating these challenges, redesigning work and shepherding their organisations into the future.”

Australian employees surveyed report engaging in impactful work is the top factor they cared about (48%) with flexible work arrangements second (44%) and growth opportunities third (41%).

Conversely when executives were asked what they thought Australian employees cared about they cited autonomy (54%), followed by growth opportunities (52%) and flexible working arrangements (48%).

About IBM

IBM is a leading provider of global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting expertise. IBM works with clients in 175 countries and over 4,000 government and corporate entities use IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations. For more information, visit here.

For more from Women Love Tech on major technology companies, visit here.

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