Thursday, June 20, 2024

Irish labour market more exposed to AI than most advanced economies

Must read

A new cross-departmental analysis has found that almost two-thirds of occupations in the Irish labour market are exposed to AI, with the Irish impact marginally outpacing the advanced economy average. 

A series of reports published by the Department of Finance and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has found that 63% of Irish jobs are exposed to AI, 30% of which are at risk of being substituted, with the remaining 33% set to see their work complimented by the technology through enhanced productivity.

Using data from 2021, the report also found that females were relatively more exposed to AI than males due to their respective roles, noting that women were employed in “highly exposed administrative or customer occupations,” while men were more likely to hold agricultural or construction-related roles, which are relatively less exposed to AI.

At a sectoral level, the analysis found that those working in the Financial and Insurance and Information and Communication sectors are most exposed to AI, impacting 97% and 94% of employees respectively, while the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector is the least exposed.

However, the report noted that there will “not necessarily be job losses” in highly exposed sectors, but rather a “redeployment of labour from low complementarity to high complementarity roles.”

“Given that AI will pervade all sectors of the economy, it will be important to ensure that all workers receive tailored training to equip them with the skills to use AI as a supporting technology within their current roles, or to support a transition to more viable positions,” the report added.

From a regional perspective, those working in urban areas are relatively more exposed to AI than rural areas, with Dublin having the highest share of employees working in relatively highly exposed roles at 71%.

Across age demographics, younger workers appeared to be slightly more exposed to AI compared to older workers, with greater shares working in both “at-risk” and “high-gain” roles.

Speaking this morning, Minister of Finance Michael McGrath said: “The analysis published today is very timely.”

“It is clear that AI has the potential to have very positive transformative effects, improving living standards and our quality of life generally. However, we know from historical experience that technological advancement can sometimes cause labour market disruption.”

The reports also noted that those on higher incomes could benefit the most from increased AI adoption due to preliminary analysis revealing a positive correlation between exposure to AI and salary.

The cross-departmental analysis also noted a potential impact on tax and spending following future changes in the labour market, as well as a need to upskill workers in negatively exposed groups.

Also commenting on the series, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke said: “It is clear that we are on the cusp of a swathe of technological changes: from AI to quantum computing to gene therapy. Every significant technological advance brings changes to the labour market.

“AI will be no different in that regard. The exact nature of these changes is uncertain, but this does not mean that we are unprepared.”

Latest article