Financial services sector facing huge job cuts from AI

The financial services market could see a swathe of job cuts as part of the coming artificial intelligence revolution, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The body said it was “clear that the potential for [AI-driven jobs] substitution remains significant, raising fears of decreasing wages and job losses”. 

However, it added that for the time being AI was changing jobs rather than replacing them.

“Occupations in finance, medicine and legal activities which often require many years of education, and whose core functions rely on accumulated experience to reach decisions, may suddenly find themselves at risk of automation from AI,” said the OECD. 

Overall, more than a quarter of jobs in the OECD rely on skills that could be easily automated in the coming artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, according to the body.

The is a 38-member bloc, spanning mostly wealthy nations but also some emerging economies including Mexico and Estonia.

There is little evidence the emergence of AI is having a significant impact on jobs so far, but that may be because the revolution is in its early stages, the OECD said.

Jobs with the highest risk of being automated make up 27% of the labour force on average in OECD countries, with eastern European countries most exposed, the Paris-based organisation said.

Jobs at highest risk were defined as those using more than 25 of the 100 skills and abilities that AI experts consider can be easily automated.

Three out of five workers meanwhile fear that they could lose their job to AI over the next 10 years, the OECD found in a survey last year. The survey covered 5,300 workers in 2,000 firms spanning manufacturing and finance across seven OECD countries.

“How AI will ultimately impact workers in the workplace and whether the benefits will outweigh the risks, will depend on the policy actions we take,” OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann told a news conference.

“Governments must help workers to prepare for the changes and benefit from the opportunities AI will bring about,” he continued.

Minimum wages and collective bargaining could help ease the pressure that AI could put on wages while governments and regulators need to ensure workers’ rights are not compromised, the OECD said.

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