UK study finds that AI will have the greatest impact on high-flying city workers

According to a government report published on Tuesday, high-flying professionals from the City of London are likely to be at the centre of a storm when generative artificial intelligent transforms the UK labour market.

The report was billed as the first attempt to quantify the impact AI will have on the UK job market. It used a methodology developed by US academics in order to identify occupations, industries and areas which would be the most affected by AI adoption, and large language models specifically.

The Department for Education’s Unit for Future Skills conducted an analysis that found the insurance and finance sectors were more vulnerable than others. The analysis looked at how well 10 common AI apps could help perform various jobs, such as image recognition, language modeling, translation, and speech recognition.

The occupations most affected by AI applications were management consulting, financial managers, accountants. psychologists, economists, and lawyers.

The study revealed that call centre workers were the most affected by large language models. These include the software used to create Open AI’s ChatGPT. The study also found that university lecturers and credit controllers as well as public relations specialists, and clergy are all highly affected occupations.

The report highlighted that disruptions would be centered on capital and employees who have degree-level qualifications, in contrast with previous periods of rapid technology change.

London is five times more exposed to AI than the north-east, according to the DfE, due its concentration of professional occupations.

The analysis didn’t try to differentiate between jobs where AI could replace workers and those where new technology enhanced the role of the worker.

Some studies suggest that up to one third of UK jobs may be automated in the next twenty years. However, most people will see their role change rather than be replaced by machines.

The report drew attention to a recent IMF study that suggested AI could have a polarising impact on labour markets in advanced economies. They were better able than other countries to harness AI for growth but more susceptible to job loss.