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Tech Insight : Jobs Threatened By ChatGPT

In this insight, we look at the kinds of industries and jobs that research has identified as being most exposed to the disruptive threat of generative AI, but we also look at how AI has created some new job roles.


Research from Felten, Manav Raj, and Seamans –“How will Language Modelers like ChatGPT Affect Occupations and Industries?”), from OpenAI and also the University of Pennsylvania offered some reasonably in-depth analysis of how advances in AI language modeling, such as ChatGPT, impact various occupations and industries. As part of the key findings, the research paper identified some of the jobs most exposed to ChatGPT. These findings were:


The research indicated a high exposure Level. This is because the nature of telemarketing involves repetitive tasks that could be easily automated by language models. ChatGPT can, for example, handle customer inquiries, provide information, and even persuade potential customers, thereby reducing the need for human telemarketers.

Post-secondary Teachers
(e.g. English Language and Literature, Foreign Language and Literature, History)

According to the research, there is a significant exposure level for these jobs, with the reason being they often require the creation of educational content, as well as grading, plus answering student queries, which are all tasks that ChatGPT can perform efficiently. However, the interactive and mentoring aspects of teaching are much less likely to be fully replaced by AI.

Legal Services 

Famously, ChatGPT (specifically GPT-4), passed the legal bar exam back in March 2023 and exposure to ChatGPT in legal jobs is thought to be considerable. For example, many tasks within legal services, such as document review, contract analysis, and basic legal advice, can be automated using language models. ChatGPT’s ability to process and understand large volumes of text makes it suitable for these tasks.

Securities, Commodities, and Investments 

Financial analysis, report generation, and market trend analysis are all areas where ChatGPT can assist significantly. Specifically, its data processing capabilities can enhance efficiency and reduce the reliance on human analysts for routine tasks.

In fact, the researchers were able to compile a list of the top 20 professions most exposed to ChatGPT, which are:

1. Telemarketers
2. English language (and literature) teachers
3. Foreign language (and literature) teachers
4. History teachers
5. Law teachers
6. Philosophy and religion teachers
7. Sociology teachers
8. Political science teachers
9. Criminal justice and law enforcement teachers
10. Sociologists
11. Social work teachers
12. Psychology teachers
13. Communications teachers
14. Political scientists
15. Cultural studies teachers
16. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators
17. Judges, magistrate judges and magistrates
18. Geography teachers
19. Library science teachers
20. Clinical, counseling and school psychologists

Accountants Exposed 

The OpenAI / University of Pennsylvania research (working paper) also found that a significant portion of the US workforce, including accountants, mathematicians, interpreters, and writers, are highly exposed to the capabilities of generative AI technologies like ChatGPT. For instance, the research revealed that at least half of the tasks performed by accountants could be completed much faster using AI, thereby demonstrating the substantial impact of these technologies on various professions.

Not Creative & Management Jobs 

Conversely however, this paper noted that professions requiring human judgment, creativity, and complex decision-making are much less likely to be replaced by AI. These include jobs in fields like:

– Creative arts, including artists, writers, and designers, where the emphasis is on originality and human creativity.

– Management – roles that require strategic decision-making and interpersonal skills.

– Healthcare. Professions that involve direct patient care and complex medical decision-making.

The findings of the OpenAI research suggest that while AI like ChatGPT can significantly impact certain job sectors by automating routine tasks, roles requiring nuanced human skills and judgment appear to remain less vulnerable to automation.

Also, researchers at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (in the US) examined the historical impact of disruptive technologies on jobs and projected the effects of ChatGPT. Not surprisingly, their findings indicated that jobs involving data analysis and information retrieval are most at risk from ChatGPT.

What Can Workers Do? 

To protect themselves from the threat posed by AI technologies like ChatGPT, workers can focus on developing skills that are less likely to be automated. These include critical thinking, creativity, and complex decision-making abilities. Professions that require nuanced human judgment, such as those in creative arts, management, and healthcare, are less vulnerable to AI automation. It’s possible, therefore, that by enhancing skills in these areas, workers may remain more relevant in an AI-augmented job market.

Also, reskilling and upskilling are possible strategies for workers to stay competitive. Learning new technologies and understanding how to leverage AI tools can turn potential threats into opportunities. Workers could take advantage of AI to increase their productivity and efficiency rather than being replaced by it, suggesting that training programs focusing on AI literacy, data analysis, and digital transformation could also prove to become essential for workers to adapt to the changing landscape.

Integrating AI into their workflow in a way that complements their unique human capabilities may also be a way that workers can mitigate the threat posed to their jobs by AI such as ChatGPT. This could involve understanding how to use AI to augment tasks that require speed and accuracy while focusing on aspects of their jobs that necessitate empathy, interpersonal skills, and complex problem-solving. Embracing a collaborative approach with AI could therefore help workers enhance their roles and provide added value to their employers, thus securing their positions in the evolving job market.

What About AI Creating Jobs? 

It’s worth remembering that as well as posing a risk to certain jobs/roles, ChatGPT, and other generative AI could also create new jobs and opportunities. For example:

AI specialists and engineers. The rise of generative AI has led to an increased demand for AI and machine learning specialists. These professionals are responsible for developing, maintaining, and improving AI systems. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, there is a projected 40 per cent increase in the number of AI and machine learning specialists by 2027, highlighting the growing need for expertise in this field.

Prompt Engineers. As AI models like ChatGPT become more prevalent, the role of prompt engineers has emerged. These specialists create and refine the prompts used to train AI systems, ensuring they generate accurate and relevant outputs. This role requires a deep understanding of both the technology and the specific application domains, making it a unique and valuable (as well as a high salary) position in the AI ecosystem.

AI Trainers and data annotators. Generative AI models require vast amounts of data to learn and improve. AI trainers and data annotators play a crucial role in preparing and curating this data. For example, they label datasets, review AI outputs, and provide feedback to enhance the models’ accuracy and performance. This job is critical for maintaining the quality of AI-generated content and ensuring that the models operate within ethical and practical boundaries.

Digital transformation specialists. Organisations are now increasingly integrating AI into their workflows, which is feeding the demand for professionals who can manage and lead these transformations. Digital transformation specialists can help companies adopt and leverage AI technologies effectively, optimising processes and driving innovation. The Future of Jobs Report (World Economic Forum) indicates a significant rise in demand for digital transformation specialists, underlining their importance in the modern workplace.

AI ethics consultants. With the growing influence of AI, ethical considerations are important. AI ethics consultants work to ensure that AI applications comply with legal standards and ethical guidelines. They help organisations navigate the complexities of AI implementation, addressing issues like bias, transparency, and accountability. This emerging role is proving to be important for building public trust and promoting responsible AI use.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The findings from the research on AI technologies like ChatGPT appear to show a real shift in the landscape of various industries. For UK businesses, this translates into a need for proactive adaptation to harness the benefits of AI while mitigating its disruptive potential. Integrating AI into business operations could significantly enhance efficiency, particularly in roles that involve routine cognitive tasks and data processing. For example, automating customer service, financial analysis, and legal documentation could free up valuable human resources to focus on more strategic, creative, and interpersonal tasks. Embracing AI can therefore lead to a more streamlined and productive business environment, reducing operational costs and improving service delivery.

Also, the evolution of AI presents an opportunity for businesses to invest in the reskilling and upskilling of their workforce. Note that there is an argument that genAI like ChatGPT can also have a deskilling effect. By providing training programs focused on AI literacy, data analysis, and digital transformation, businesses can equip their employees with the necessary skills to thrive in an AI-augmented job market. Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and adaptability will not only help in retaining talent but also foster innovation and resilience within the organisation. Workers who are adept at leveraging AI tools can hopefully transform potential threats into opportunities using AI to augment their roles and increase their productivity and value to the company.

Businesses also need to consider the ethical implications of AI deployment. Establishing roles such as AI ethics consultants could ensure that the integration of AI is conducted responsibly, addressing issues like bias, transparency, and accountability. This may not only build public trust but also help safeguard the company against potential legal and ethical pitfalls.