According to a new report, as many as 7,800 IBM positions that would normally be offered to fresh applicants appear to be on hold as the corporation considers placing a significant emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI). This represents for many of us the confirmation of our worst nightmare and perhaps the largest threat we have seen in decades.
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna disclosed to Bloomberg News on Monday that the company plans to temporarily halt recruitment for certain positions, as it anticipates that approximately 7,800 jobs may become redundant in the near future due to the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Krishna stated that the company will be putting a hold on hiring in back-office functions, such as human resources while noting that nearly one-third of all non-customer-facing positions could potentially be supplanted by AI and automation within the next five years.
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna’s remarks come amidst a time of increasing fascination with AI, following the highly successful debut of OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, backed by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), in November of last year.
Krishna explained that the potential reduction in jobs could be achieved through various methods, including the discontinuation of recruitment for certain roles and not filling vacancies left by employees who leave the company. He specifically mentioned that back-office functions, such as human resources, would be the focus of this change.
According to Arvind Krishna, CEO of International Business Machines Corp., the company intends to put a temporary hold on hiring for certain positions that could potentially be replaced by artificial intelligence in the near future. This includes back-office functions, which accounts for around 26,000 employees. In fact, Krishna believes that up to 30% of these roles could be automated within the next five years, resulting in a potential loss of approximately 7,800 jobs.
IBM’s approach will also involve attrition, which means that some positions won’t be filled once vacated. While AI is revolutionizing various industries, including customer service, content creation, and coding, there are concerns about how this technology will impact the workforce. In response, Krishna’s workforce strategy could be one of the most significant measures taken to address the rapidly evolving AI landscape.
According to Krishna, certain routine tasks like issuing employment verification letters or transferring employees across different departments are likely to be fully automated. However, he noted that HR functions related to evaluating the workforce’s composition and productivity are unlikely to be automated in the next decade.
IBM presently has a workforce of approximately 260,000 employees and is continuously recruiting for software development and customer-facing positions. Krishna mentioned that talent acquisition has become more manageable than it was a year ago. While the company announced layoffs earlier this year, which could involve approximately 5,000 workers once completed, Krishna stated that IBM has actually increased its overall workforce by hiring around 7,000 individuals in the first quarter.
Krishna, who became IBM’s CEO in 2020, has been tirelessly working to move the century-old company into a software and services-centric economic model, putting a particular emphasis on the hybrid cloud. Krishna has sold off lower-growth companies in line with this approach, including the managed infrastructure unit Kyndryl Inc. and a portion of the Watson Health division. The business is currently thinking about selling its weather division as well.
Thanks to cost-cutting measures like the previously announced job cuts, IBM, a New York company with its headquarters in Armonk, exceeded profit expectations in its most recent quarter. The organization’s new productivity and efficiency measures are predicted to provide $2 billion in yearly savings by the end, CFO James Kavanaugh stated on savings day.
Krishna had at first thought that the US could delay a recession until late 2022. He now anticipates a “shallow and short” recession by the end of the year, nevertheless. Anurag Rana of Bloomberg Intelligence says that despite growing macroeconomic worries, IBM should be able to maintain consistent growth because to its strong software portfolio, which includes the company’s recently acquired subsidiary Red Hat.