Series: Hays in conversation with....
Exploring the impact of AI on the UK’s top jobs

7 min read | Simon Winfield | Article | Industry insights Information technology sector Industry insights

Exploring the impact of AI on the UK’s top jobs

Hays in conversation with.... Paradigm Junction


For the past five years we’ve used our insights and expertise to predict what the most in-demand jobs will be for the year ahead in the UK. And this year’s no different. The roles featured on our 2024 list are at the top of employers’ wish lists up and down the country, as many struggle not only to attract staff, but to retain them due to high competition for skills.

The list this year includes roles such as qualified social workers, energy/carbon managers and credit controllers. But what about the elephant in the room, AI? Will AI make these jobs easier, more exciting, harder or – obsolete?

 

So - how will AI impact some of the UK’s top jobs?

To help answer this, we sat down with James Hutt, founding consultant at Paradigm Junction to hear his insights on how he expects AI to impact three of our top jobs on our list.

“All of the jobs on the 2024 top ten list will be impacted to some degree. And that’s because there are going to be changes when it comes to basic tasks such as searching for information, creating write ups for others, or even just responding to emails. But clearly some roles entail more of the above tasks than others. And until we get robots who can move about the world like humans (and there has been some exciting progress in the last couple of months), any job that isn’t desk-based is going to be a bit more insulated from the impact of AI.

“That said - if I had to pick three roles, which I believe will be the most impacted (and positively so) they would be cyber security experts, SEN teaching assistants and newly qualified accountants.”

 

No.4 on the list – Cyber security manager

“AI is already disrupting the way information moves around the internet quite significantly, and that will have a knock-on effect on what someone in cyber security does day to day.

Firstly, AI is increasing the number of tools and applications that cyber experts need to defend; all the while battling the increased capabilities of attackers. It’s worrying for many in the field because suddenly millions of people can more easily access the information needed to launch a cyber-attack.

Cyber experts will need to automate and upskill fairly quickly – and AI can help them do just that. We’re already working with CISO’s to help them plan for AI-enabled businesses and attackers. 

As if this weren’t enough, in many organisations there are teams experimenting with building new tools and systems using generative AI. All these new systems need cybersecurity teams to make them safe, which means cyber security experts are quickly adapting and learning themselves what the challenges of generative AI tools are.”

 

No.7 on the list - Special educational needs (SEN) teaching assistant

“SEN TAs won’t necessarily have AI tools directly at their fingertips as lots of their work is in person, yet there are plenty of great ways to utilise AI to help with the teaching process. Positively, education has been one of the most forward-thinking sectors when it comes to using tools like ChatGPT. 

TAs may be able to come up with one or two explanations for something in class – but what if a child still doesn’t understand what has been communicated? ChatGPT can come up with another way of explaining a concept, and another and another without tiring. Some children with special educational needs will find interacting with a chatbot (perhaps one with a persona of a character they know and like) much easier than talking to an adult too. 

I can visualise a classroom scene where a TA will ask a student ‘Shall we see what ChatGPT (or a character built with it) thinks about this?’ as a way to introducing a new topic – either for academic or emotional purposes. The sky’s the limit when it comes to imagining how the tools can help improve children’s learning and enhance the day-to-day role for SEN TAs.”

 

No.9 on the list – Newly qualified accountants 

“For newly qualified accountants, a lot of what they do is specialised and requires extensive training. That said, there are always parts of the job that are more routine and less specialised. Accountancy firms have been some of the most aggressive in outsourcing routine tasks to workers in different locations and we should expect them to do the same with AI tools. 

This has the potential to make the job of an NQA much more interesting as document reviews, report writing and summarisation (the more mundane parts of the job according to many) will be the first to be automated. Lots of consultancies are already getting first year graduates to do work previously reserved for 2nd and 3rd years and NQAs will likely find the same. This could prove to be revolutionary in not only upskilling, but when it comes to entry level hiring.”

It’s clear that AI has the potential to ‘supercharge’ roles – and create possibilities for professionals that might never have existed before. This year I think the world of work can expect to see businesses and professionals seeking more and more insights on how to make the most of AI, rather than shy away from it.

If you’d like to hear more about how AI could impact your business check out Paradigm Junction or subscribe to James’ monthly newsletter covering the business impacts and decisions of AI. For all your business workforce and talent needs - explore our website

 

About this author

Simon Winfield, CEO, Hays UK & Ireland

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland. Simon was appointed MD of the UK & Ireland business in July 2018, and subsequently CEO of Hays UK & Ireland in 2023. Simon has been pivotal in shaping the UK and Ireland business into what it is today – focusing on aspects such as social purpose, technology, DE&I, sustainability and more. Under his leadership, Hays has developed a number of programmes specifically focused at supporting social mobility and youth unemployment.

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