AI Job Replacement: Experts Reveal Most At-Risk Roles

Millions of jobs could be replaced with artificial intelligence in the next few years. But which are likely to go first?

Just a few years ago, for a whole class of knowledge workers, the thought of being replaced by AI was unthinkable. But the meteoric rise of ChatGPT has led many to ask themselves the same question that those working in manufacturing have asked themselves for many years now: will my job be replaced with AI?

With businesses discovering new ways to use ChatGPT every day, you can understand why workers in all sorts of roles are looking over their shoulders. With AI tools worming their way into the day-to-day routines of employees and solving all sorts of problems, it’s unsurprising that over two-thirds of employees are hiding the fact they use it from their bosses.

We’ve spoken to AI experts, entrepreneurs developing AI tools, and businesspeople using them to find out exactly which jobs they think will be automated first, how AI might make things easier, and how you can make yourself AI-proof for the job market. In this article, we cover:

Is AI Replacing Jobs?

It’s unlikely that AI will suddenly replace huge swathes of the human workforce by the end of this week, but the idea this sort of change may happen in the near future has never seemed more realistic than it does at present.

A report published by the World Economic Forum in 2020, for example, predicted 85 million jobs will be replaced by AI by the year 2025. Mckinsey’s more conservative 2021 estimate, on the other hand, is 45 million by 2030.

Our own research has also found that 47% of business leaders would consider using AI instead of hiring for roles at their company.

But arguably, these estimations now seem too small. In the wake of ChatGPT’s explosive popularity, Goldman Sachs revealed its predictions that around 300 million jobs could soon be replaced by artificial intelligence or automated in some way or another.

At the moment, AI is competently completing tasks within job remits, rather than subsuming whole job roles. But it’s not difficult to imagine how this may progress to entire positions being taken over by artifical intelligence.

Indeed, rather than entire roles disappearing into thin air and being replaced with a chatbot like ChatGPT, What we’re more likely to see in the next year or so is AI being used as a tool to aid some duties performed by an increasingly large class of workers.

OpenAI predicted in a recent paper that artificial intelligence will soon be able to help with around 10% of tasks for eight out of 10 workers, while 19% of workers will be able to use AI to complete 50% of their tasks. This sort of spread suggests AI replacing jobs will be a slow, gradual process rather than a sudden change.

The Top 10 Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by AI

We’ve put together a list of jobs most vulnerable to AI. 10 jobs that could be replaced by AI are:

  1. Entry-level Admin Roles
  2. Data Entry Clerks 
  3. Software Engineers and Coders
  4. Customer Service Reps
  5. Paralegals
  6. Copywriters and Content Roles
  7. Graphic Designers
  8. Bankers and Accountants
  9. Traders
  10. Fact-Checkers and Proofreaders

1. Entry-Level admin roles

Administrative roles are perhaps most at risk of being replaced by AI tools currently available, such as ChatGPT. Admin roles consist of tasks like note-taking, proofreading, writing summaries, and managing spreadsheets, jobs that can already be performed competently by ChatGPT.

In the same research note that revealed Goldman Sachs’ prediction that 300 million jobs could be replaced by AI back, “office and administrative support” is cited as the job with the highest percentage (46%) of “current work tasks” that could feasibly be automated and carried out by AI.

In Microsoft Teams Premium, the CoPilot feature will summarize your video conferencing meetings into note form and then generate a list of action points by analyzing the content of the transcript. Twenty years ago, taking meeting notes would have been a core duty of a number of administrative and secretarial roles. Now, this task can be completely automated.

2. Data entry clerks 

Data entry roles involve lots of tasks that follow pre-defined sets of rules. This means it’s a comparatively easy role to automate, due to the repetitiveness and logic-following nature.

“Jobs that require decision-making based on data analysis, such as financial analysis and medical diagnosis” are most at risk according to Angelo Sorbello, CEO of AI writing and SEO tool Linkdelta. “In general, any job that involves performing a set of predefined steps or following a strict set of rules is vulnerable to automation,” he explained.

“Manually entering data into a computer system is time-consuming” Ryan Faber, the founder of the AI content writing platform Copymatic, agrees.

“While it’s an important part of many businesses,” he continued, “it’s also a task that’s ripe for automation. With the development of AI-powered tools such as OCR and NLP, it’s now possible to automate many aspects of data entry.”

3. Software Engineers and Coders

The news that OpenAI is already trying to make basic coding obsolete with ChatGPT will have certainly spooked those in the software industry. AI can automate much of the repetitive testing that software engineers currently perform during development, as well as many responsibilities usually assigned to junior software engineers.

AI could also help with hunting down bugs and patching vulnerabilities. Although it doesn’t seem to have the skill set to replace engineers building highly complicated software that requires human creativity, this isn’t necessarily necessary for every code-based task.

OpenAI is already working on a program called Codex that can be applied to virtually any coding task, while Amazon and Samsung employees have also reportedly been using ChatGPT for coding purposes.

4. Customer Service Representatives

Companies are now using AI to deal with customer service requests; a lot of small businesses can’t afford to employ humans in these roles, so it’s becoming commonplace. They join larger platforms like Amazon in turning to AI to deal with customer service queries, something which the ecommerce giant has been doing for nearly three years now.

Jonathan Tian, CEO of CreditYelp, says that AI “has taken over the customer support response” at his company. “Most frequently queried responses are fed to the algorithm to assist our online clients with immediate replies” he added.

5. Legal assistants

When Legal Cheek recently asked ChatGPT what jobs technology powered by GPT-4 could potentially replace, the paralegal profession was third on its list. The “human trait replaced”, as ChatGPT puts it, is “research and organization.”

AI legal assistants are already commercially available – some even offer free trials. One of these programs – Casetexts – will review documents and legal research memos, and help lawyers prepare depositions. It can analyze contacts and revise them if they conflict with compliance laws, as well as identify potential risks your business might face.

As you can probably imagine, this covers a lot of duties carried out at present by human paralegals.

6. Copywriting and content production

Anyone who’s used ChatGPT knows it can produce competent paragraphs of useful, relevant content in seconds – just like a writer or editor can, but quicker. ChatGPT alternatives like Jasper and Writesonic are already well-established in this place and charge hefty subscription fees for access to their premium services.

Although major websites have started to dabble in using artificial intelligence to create content and write articles, producing content en masse with AI hasn’t exactly gone smoothly for the companies testing the water. For instance, tech website CNET used AI to write 77 articles but was then forced to issue corrections on 41 of them while other news outlets identified examples of “extensive plagiarism.”

Buzzfeed has recently begun publishing AI-generated content too, although it’s been accused of being quite repetitive. Although we’re a long way off from replacing writers, it’s an area being considered closely by a lot of publications – so watch this space.

7. Graphic designers 

Already, AI tools like DALL-E can generate images at the drop of a hat that would give experienced graphic designers a run for their money. GPT-4, which is currently only available to ChatGPT Plus customers, now allows image inputs, and other competing AI chatbots can also generate impressive image content, such as

DALL-E and similar tools aren’t going to kill the graphic design industry in their current iteration; rather, some artists are already using it to their advantage. But it’s more about what DALL-E – and similar tools – could become in a short amount of time. If we can easily access technology that can produce unique, original, high-quality images now, what will it be able to do in a year’s time?

8. Traders

Would a computer program be better at trading than a human? Well, considering the duties you have to perform in your early years on the job, the answer is probably “yes”.

“I definitely think [it will impact] the trading side, but even [at] an investment bank, people [are] hired out of college and spend two, three years to work like robots and do Excel modeling — you can get AI to do that,” Pengcheng Shi, Professor of Computing and Information Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology told the New York Post in January.

Teams around the world are already using ChatGPT and Bard to generate Excel formulas for specific tasks, and saving valuable time hunting. When we recently tested ChatGPT and Bard, we found that they both served us responses to requests for Google Sheets formulas at lightning speed, which otherwise would have taken considerable time leafing through Google to find.

9. Bankers and accountants

Trading isn’t the only role in the finance industry that is likely to be affected by the AI revolution.

“I believe that roles in accounting and finance are most at risk of being taken by AI” argues Forbes 30 under 30 alumni Matt Ramirez, Founder of AI firm Rephrase Media.

“Advanced algorithms are already being used to detect patterns in large sets of data, which can then be used to predict future outcomes and make better business decisions,” he continued. “Sectors such as finance, accounting, and insurance will certainly experience disruption from AI.”

10. Fact-checkers and proofreaders

Right now, neither Bard nor ChatGPT is capable of getting every single question they’re asked correct, every single time. But if they undergo significant fine-tuning and provide sources to every answer they serve to users, they could function as formidable, real-time fact-checkers. What a great addition to the US presidential debates they’d be.

Whether people would initially be prepared to trust an AI fact-checker is another story. But roles that revolve around sourcing correct information quickly and efficiently would be transformed by a chatbot that can consistently pull accurate information from the web while citing its sources – and it doesn’t feel like we’re miles off from making this a reality.

Proofreading huge texts – which requires a similar level of attention to detail and would take veteran proofreader hours to check – can be reviewed for mistakes by AI programs in seconds already, meaning this sort of role is vulnerable to automation too.

Will AI Just Make Jobs Easier?

ChatGPT has already proven itself competent at basic administrative jobs, as well as coding, content ideation, generating Excel formulas, and writing emails. The version built into Microsoft Teams can take meeting notes and create action points. Rather than replacing jobs, however, might it just make our existing ones easier?

Real Fake Photos founder Jan-Oliver Seidenfass, who’s currently completing a postgraduate degree focused on signal processing and machine learning at ETH Zurich, thinks the jobs most at risk include roles that deal with “mass content creation and editing, related to text, images, and video.”

However, he told that “rather than eliminating these jobs, AI is likely to boost individual productivity significantly. For example, software engineers can now generate boilerplate code in seconds instead of hours.”

Ryan Daniel, President of Finance Manager Training, thinks the sales industry won’t be heavily affected by an AI revolution – in fact, workers in the sector may benefit from AI programs.

“Our team recently launched an AI product designed to train car dealership staff. However, we were surprised to hear from many people expressing concerns that our product might replace their job,” Daniels recalls.

“Our product uses AI to help train salespeople and finance managers, therefore allowing these employees to be even better at their job. In this way, we use AI as an enhancement – rather than a replacement” – Ryan Daniels, Finance Manager Training.

Out of all the industries witnessing AI-related changes, Daniels believes “sales will be the least affected over the course of what we now know as artificial intelligence” because people are “less likely to trust AI with purchasing decisions.”

It’s also important to remember that this sort of paradigmatic shift is nothing new for a constantly evolving global economy.

“Every great technological innovation in history has changed up the job market, and AI is no different,” explains Nick Gausling, Managing Director of Romy Group LLC and Author of Bots in Suits: Using Generative AI to Revolutionize Your Business.

“Some skills and jobs will become obsolete and resources will be reallocated to fit the new economy,” Gausling continued. “The most successful people will be those who learn to leverage AI to augment their work.”

Jobs That Won’t Be Taken by AI

We’re some years away from the AI-supported utopian dreamland that’s been described by sci-fi novelists and tech futurists for decades, where we’ll be free to indulge in whatever activities we want to while robots do all the work.

A whole swathe of job roles will be occupied by humans for years to come. For instance, it’s hard to envisage how the roles of lawyers and public sector jobs in nursing and law enforcement can feasibly be replaced in the near future. It will be a long while before we trust AI to occupy roles that demand accountability, even if the technology is advanced enough to perform the relevant duties capably.

Indeed, a general distrust of AI – as well as more nuanced ethical considerations – is likely to hold up the expansion of AI into specific sectors as much as actual technological development. Major names in the tech industry are already speaking out against its unchecked development, and this pushback is likely to exist in perpetuity.

Interestingly, however, public service job shortages are common at present in developed countries like the United Kingdom, where there’s still a huge backlog of unheard court cases left over from Covid-19, as well as severe nursing shortages. This could lead governments to explore innovative ways to fix this – which may include incorporating AI into job roles and processes.

In the private sector, a 2022 Gartner survey found that 80% of executives thought AI could be applied in “any direction” – which would suggest no stone will be left unturned when it comes to automation.

Will AI Create More Jobs Than It Replaces?

Conversations about how artificial intelligence and advanced robotics will impact the job market are usually focused on the jobs they’ll replace. But AI development has the capacity to create a whole new industry full of jobs, too. It’s anything but a zero-sum game.

In the World Economic Forum report referenced earlier on in this article is the fact that while AI may make around 85 million jobs obsolete, at the same time, it’ll create 97 million new ones.

Other studies, such as a University of Warwick investigation published in March of last year, found AI investments were 28.4% more likely to create jobs than investments in other types of similar technologies.

Dr. Will Hunt said at the time that “discussions about AI’s potential impact on jobs have tended to focus on potential job losses as AI is increasingly capable of automating complex tasks. And while there does seem to be some evidence of that, our research shows that AI is as likely to lead to net job creation in companies introducing AI as it is to lead to net destruction.”

Many of the businesses that has spoken to for this piece seemed positive about the impact AI is having on their respective industries, and keen to incorporate it into their workers’ lives.

How to Make Yourself AI-Proof

The AI revolution is here, and if companies don’t start upskilling their staff so they can keep up with these significant changes to their working lives, they risk their business being left behind.

But what can individuals do to prepare themselves? Iu Ayala, the co-founder of AI-focused consultancy firm Gradient Insight, says prospective employees heading into the job market should “focus on developing skills that complement AI technology.”

“For example,” he explains, “skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, emotional intelligence, and communication are likely to become increasingly valuable in a world where AI is prevalent.”

As we’ve said before, major changes aren’t going to happen overnight. If you’re worried about your role being swallowed up by artificial intelligence in the next few years, there are things you can do to adapt. Expanding your soft skills – and getting comfortable using the latest AI chatbots and other toolsis a good way to start.

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Written by:
Aaron Drapkin is a Lead Writer at He has been researching and writing about technology, politics, and society in print and online publications since graduating with a Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol five years ago. As a writer, Aaron takes a special interest in VPNs, cybersecurity, and project management software. He has been quoted in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Computer Weekly, Cybernews, and the Silicon Republic speaking on various privacy and cybersecurity issues, and has articles published in Wired, Vice, Metro, ProPrivacy, The Week, and covering a wide range of topics.
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