IBM Is Ending Hiring For Jobs That Can Be Done By AI

IBM, a prominent technology company, recently announced a temporary halt in its hiring process for specific positions that are deemed susceptible to being automated by artificial intelligence (AI) in the near future. The CEO of IBM, Arvind Krishna, disclosed that they will be slowing down or suspending the recruitment of back-office roles, including human resources. This decision impacts around 26,000 employees, and Krishna believes that AI and automation could potentially replace approximately 30% of these positions over the course of five years.

The potential impact of AI on the job market has raised concerns, particularly regarding its ability to automate tasks such as customer service and code generation. IBM’s workforce strategy, spearheaded by Krishna, represents one of the most substantial responses to address these technological advancements. Administrative tasks like employment verification letters and employee transfers are expected to be completely automated, whereas functions related to workforce evaluation and productivity may remain unchanged for the next decade.

Despite the pause in hiring for certain roles, IBM will continue to actively recruit individuals for software development and customer-oriented positions. Krishna expressed that sourcing talent has become comparatively easier in recent times. The company had previously announced job cuts earlier this year, potentially leading to approximately 5,000 job losses. However, IBM has simultaneously added around 7,000 new employees in the first quarter, contributing to overall workforce growth.

Krishna, who assumed the CEO role in 2020, has been steering IBM’s focus towards software and services, with a particular emphasis on the hybrid cloud sector. As part of this strategy, IBM has divested lower-growth businesses like Kyndryl Inc. and certain divisions of the Watson Health unit. Additionally, the company is currently exploring the possibility of selling its weather unit. Despite prevailing economic challenges, IBM managed to exceed profit expectations in its most recent quarter, largely due to effective cost management, including the aforementioned job cuts. The company’s Chief Financial Officer, James Kavanaugh, anticipates that newly implemented productivity and efficiency measures will result in annual savings of $2 billion by the end of 2024.

Looking ahead, Krishna now predicts a potential “shallow and short” recession towards the end of this year, deviating from his previous belief that the US could avoid such a downturn until late 2022. However, IBM’s robust software portfolio, including the acquired unit Red Hat, is expected to sustain steady growth, even in the face of worsening macroeconomic concerns.

In summary, IBM’s decision to temporarily halt hiring for AI-replaceable roles reflects the ongoing impact of technological advancements on the job market. While certain positions may be subject to replacement, the company remains committed to investing in software development and customer-centric roles, solidifying its position as a leader in the industry.

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