These roles amount to approximately 26,000 workers; Krishna added that he could easily see 30% of that number being replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period. Back-office employees only make up a small portion of IBM’s workforce of around 260,000 workers, and the company has continued to fill roles even after letting go of about 5,000 workers in other areas.
According to Aljazeera, an IBM spokesperson mentioned that the company was being “very selective when filling jobs that don’t directly touch our clients or technology,” and there was no blanket hiring pause in place.
Krishna’s comments come amid the rapid advancement of AI-powered technology, which raises the possibility of significant disruption to various industries. Some analysts fear that AI could soon lead to mass layoffs, while others argue that the technology’s ability to improve productivity and complement human workers will create jobs and whole new industries.
The impact of AI is already being felt by some companies. On Tuesday (05/02/2023), the share price of Chegg, a California-based learning company, dropped by nearly 50% after its CEO Dan Rosensweig acknowledged on an earnings call that OpenAI’s ChatGPT was “having an impact on our new customer growth rate.”