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AI will take jobs away after all: 8 in 10 companies plan to lay off recent college grads this year because of AI’s impact

by | May 7, 2024 | Public Relations

The first fear many employees had when Generative AI steamrolled into business operations was that the tech would displace their jobs, and leaders soon began quelling those fears by stating that if anything, the opposite was true—more manpower would be necessary to optimize AI’s output. But new research from young professionals’ support platform Intelligent.com examining the impact of AI on young workers reveals that those original fears were warranted—78 percent of hiring managers surveyed anticipate that AI will lead to layoffs of recent college graduates at their company within the next year. 

The report, based on responses to a survey conducted by Pollfish of 804 hiring managers in the US, also shares insights into the current availability of internship and entry-level job opportunities. Among the group saying layoffs were likely, 11 percent predict 30 to 60 percent of recent graduates will be laid off, and 6 percent report that 70 percent or more may lose their jobs. Another 11 percent estimate layoffs ranging from between 15 and 30 percent, while 27 percent anticipate 5 to 10 percent will be let go, and 23 percent say it will be less than 3 percent.

AI displacement

“Many recent graduates are hired to fill entry-level roles that involve information-related tasks such as research, data entry, customer service, and general office assistance,” said chief education and career development advisor Huy Nguyen, in a news release. “While these entry-level positions provide people entering the workforce for the first time with crucial experience, they are also the ones that are most easily replaced by artificial intelligence.”

Survey results also indicate that since ChatGPT launched in November 2022, 84 percent of companies report offering more internship opportunities. Eleven percent state that they offer neither more nor fewer, and 4 percent claim to offer fewer internships. Similarly, 70 percent of respondents say they have offered more job opportunities since November 2022. Twenty-two percent report offering neither more nor fewer, and 7 percent admit to offering fewer jobs to recent graduates.

AI displacement

“While the total number of job opportunities and internships may be on the rise, the types of entry-level roles being created are shifting due to the rapid pace of technology advancement, especially through AI and automation,” said Nguyen.

Seventy percent of hiring managers either “fully” or “somewhat agree” that AI can perform an intern’s job. The primary intern tasks believed to be achievable by AI, according to hiring managers, include email writing, data entry, research, customer support, and generating task lists. In fact, 57 percent express they trust AI “significantly” or “somewhat more” than an intern’s capabilities. Likewise, 69 percent of hiring managers “fully” or “somewhat agree” that AI can perform the job of a recent graduate. Fifty-six percent trust the work of AI “significantly” or “somewhat more” than that of a recent graduate.

AI displacement

Read the full report here.

All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by Intelligent.com. The survey was launched on April 17, 2024, and 804 U.S. hiring managers were surveyed. Demographic criteria were employed to ensure qualified respondents, including age (25+), household income (>$50,000), organizational role (owner/partner, HR manager, resident/CEO/chairperson, C-Level executive, CFO, CTO, senior management, director), company size (>11), and education (high school, technical college, college, or postgraduate). 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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