Tech giants hatch a plan for AI job losses: Reskill 95 million in 10 years


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Some of the biggest tech companies in the world — including those heavily invested in artificial intelligence — have formed a consortium to address the impact of jobs lost to AI.

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Accenture, Eightfold, Google, IBM, Indeed, Intel, Microsoft, and SAP, along with six advisers, have formed the AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workforce Consortium to help those who have lost or will lose their jobs to AI to either upskill or reskill to reenter the workforce. The consortium will help impacted workers to find training programs and connect businesses with companies looking for their skillsets.

“The mission of our newly unveiled AI-Enabled Workforce Consortium is to provide organizations with knowledge about the impact of AI on the workforce and equip workers with relevant skills,” Cisco executive vice president and chief people, policy & purpose officer Francine Katsoudas said in a statement.

It’s no secret that workers around the globe are being impacted by AI adoption. Several companies, including UPS and IBM, have already acknowledged that they’re laying off or freezing hiring because of AI. In total, US companies have cut more than 4,600 jobs as they seek new AI-ready hires or replace positions with AI, according to a study earlier this year from outplacement companies Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Of course, many of those cuts are driven by the AI innovations that ICT participants developed. And while consortium members acknowledged that lost jobs are a reality — and that many jobs will be replaced entirely by AI — they’re hoping that upskilling and reskilling support will help workers find new careers in other roles.

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As part of that effort, the companies said their goal is to “positively impact over 95 million individuals around the world over the next 10 years.” While that’s a decidedly nebulous goal, the companies offered up some specifics:

  • Cisco said it hopes to “train 25 million people with cybersecurity and digital skills by 2032.”
  • IBM said it plans to “skill 30 million individuals by 2030 in digital skills, including 2 million in AI.”
  • Intel aims to train “more than 30 million people with AI skills for current and future jobs by 2030.”
  • Microsoft said it will “train and certify 10 million people from underserved communities with in-demand digital skills for jobs and livelihood opportunities in the digital economy by 2025.”
  • SAP hopes to “upskill 2 million people worldwide by 2025.”
  • Google said it’s already announced “EUR 25 million in funding to support AI training and skills for people across Europe.”

To be clear, the aforementioned goals are just that — goals. And while it’s possible the companies could meet or even exceed those numbers, it’s also possible they don’t. Clearly, the ICT has its work cut out for it.

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To get there, the companies said they first plan to look at how AI has impacted 56 unidentified job roles that make up 80 percent of the top 45 job titles, based on the volume of job postings, since last year. Then they plan to make recommendations on how to move forward with ensuring workers have the requisite skills that the ICT companies are looking for to reach their lofty goals.

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