Articles, Insights & Resources

Articles, Insights & Resources

Your AI Exposure

Your AI Exposure

Feb 13, 2024

Winter is coming for many white collar professionals as scores of high-paying jobs will soon be automated away by Gen AI.  Are you prepared?  

Currently there is a lot of complacency.  We hear “Yeah, there has been ceaseless talk of Gen AI since the launch of ChatGPT, but it hasn’t impacted me.”  

Not yet.

This year AI will transition from a cocktail party conversation starter to the robotic Grim Reaper as tools mature, use cases become clear, and corporations act on their massive economic incentive to automate away costs.  

It’s imperative you know where you stand and the concrete steps you should be taking today to make sure AI is working for you and your career. You must be able to answer:

  • How susceptible are my current tasks and skillset to automation?

  • What are the emerging AI-driven trends in my industry?

  • What complementary skills can I develop to remain relevant and valuable in an AI-powered future?

Calculating your AI Exposure Score

Your personal AI exposure is based on several key factors:

  • Skill breakdown: how exposed your current skills are to AI.

  • Task complexity and repetitiveness: likelihood of AI being able to perform your job tasks.

  • Tool analysis: products that are enhancing or automating your role, and how quickly and widely they’re being adopted.

Job market analysis: how AI is changing demand and income for your role.

But the story doesn't end there. Two additional factors influence your exposure:

  • The internal economics of automation: Will your employer prioritize automation in your area of focus?  And, if so, will they invest in your reskilling?

  • The market economics of automation: Will AI drive more or less demand for your services?

This is why we’ve built the AI Exposure index in our TalentAgent platform, which continually reviews millions of resumes, hundreds of thousands of job listings and roughly 2,000 AI tools. Just upload your resume or LinkedIn profile and instantly know where you stand.  View it as your personal AI to manage in the age of AI.  

Note that similar to cholesterol, your overall AI Exposure Score has “good” and “bad” elements.  A “high” score means AI is about it hit a specific job hard, but both positively and negatively, and it’s imperative you know the differences: 

Good AI Exposure (being highly complementary) makes you more productive by increasing the scale and quality of your output in a human + machine approach.  (From a century ago, think of the teamster who swapped out horses for a tractor trailer.  Same job, massive increase in productivity, and increased need for human engagement.)  Today this is appearing with specific skills in software development, sales, marketing and consulting.  

Bad AI Exposure (being high in replacement) makes you redundant as an AI platform automates the large majority of your skills.  (Again from history, think of the ice harvester when the refrigerator was mass-produced.)  Today AI is directly negatively impacting jobs in customer service, QA and testing, web design, and market research.  

Deeply understanding your AI Exposure Score is crucial, for it empowers you to:

  • Identify vulnerabilities: Know which of your skills will be redundant or enhanced

  • Know the tools to leverage: To stay ahead of the game

  • Prepare for the future: To know exactly how to upskill or pivot, and

  • Advocate for yourself: To know your next move when the automation wave hits your company.  

Why now? Because industry moves slowly, slowly…then all of a sudden 

I’ve spent my career helping companies gain advantage through technology.  When a new technology model arrives (think Client/Server, Internet, Global Delivery, Digital) a hype to revenue gap of a few years emerges.  Why the gap?  Because large organizations need time to align their existing models (both business and technology) to be able to absorb the new tech at scale.  It’s a heavy lift. The right use cases need to be identified, and then procurement, IT, business processes, governance, security, and legal all need to be coordinated.  But once aligned, things move very fast.    

Most competent companies have just about finished this work, and we’re about to see AI adoption at scale.  

This widespread adoption will put workers in a vice, and the impact of OpenAI’s Sora on Hollywood is instructive.  Tyler Perry spent the past four years preparing for an $800 million studio expansion.  Yet after reviewing Sora’s capabilities he put the project on hold.  “It’s shocking to me…mindblowing” stated Perry. “It makes me worry so much about all of the people in the business…including actors and grip and electric and transportation and sound and editors…I’m thinking this will touch every corner of our industry.”  

Ground Zero: IT Services and Enterprise Technology

Yet the largest initial impact will likely be felt by the 15 million workers in the Enterprise Technology sector.  This includes those in IT services, enterprise software and the internal IT departments of major corporations.  

For example, the top 10 global systems integrators (e.g., Accenture, TCS, CapGemini, collectively employ over four million people and have announced investments of more than $10 billion in Gen AI.  This should soon lead to 10% to 50% productivity improvements, particularly in consulting, software development, QA & testing, maintenance, security and (probably most impactfully) business process outsourcing services.  

I’ve reviewed almost all of the earnings calls of these firms for the past several quarters, and their CEOs consistently frame AI in “sunshine and rainbows” terms.  They follow a carefully-crafted Excitement - Good - Credibility PR framework.  That is

  • Excitement: “AI is ushering in a new era of innovation and job creation!”

  • Good: “This will make us ‘more human’” (whatever that means), and

  • Credible: “Here’s a supporting study from a posh university” (which we paid for).  

Yet there are two key issues they don’t tell you: 

  1. These firms are not growing.  For 2024 the category is promising no overall revenue upside. 

  2. Their clients are insisting on specific and significant AI-generated cost savings.  

The net result for employees at global system integrators? No growth + efficiency gains = layoffs.  It’s about to get ugly.  

To be clear, the arrival of the Invention Zone is inevitable.  AI can, and will, address some of the most vexing problems that still haunt society (e.g., broken healthcare and educational systems, waste in government, financial inequality, etc.).  But it will take years for those benefits to be spread widely.  

Thus AI might bring newfound bounty.  But prior to that it will automate current work.  This is the classic “Automation to Innovation Two-Step.”  AI will destroy today’s jobs before it creates tomorrow’s.  As such, starting this year, we will be in the Replacement, Enhancement and Sorting zones as millions of jobs are replaced or transformed.  

Your Responsibility: Navigating the AI Wave

You must take control of your career during these times.  HR won’t help.  Your friends and family can’t.  And denial is not a strategy.  You need to know exactly where you stand and take appropriate action.  

Knowledge is power, and understanding your AI Exposure Score is critical. Once armed with it, ensure you:

  • Embrace the tools: Mastering AI-powered solutions will propel you forward, not render you obsolete. 

  • Embrace the data: Identify which skills will be automated, freeing you for higher-level tasks, and which will be amplified by AI, allowing you to achieve greater impact.

  • Seek forward-thinking employers: Choose organizations actively harnessing AI to empower their workforce, not simply replace it. This year holds immense potential for shaping your professional trajectory. The decisions you make now will have a significant ripple effect in the years to come.

  • Don't be a passive observer; become an active participant. Embrace the future of work and ensure AI works for you, not against you.

Some years matter more than others, and the decisions you make in the next year could be decisive for the next decade.