Up to eight million UK workers could lose their jobs to AI with current government policy, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has warned. 

In a report published on Wednesday (27 March), the think tank said AI already impacts 11% of tasks done by UK workers, which could rise to 60% if organisations integrate the emerging technology further. 

Part-time, entry-level, and back-office jobs are the most at risk of being lost, but the think tank claims that higher-paying work will also be affected in the future. 

Women and young people are more at risk of being displaced by AI, according to the report.

The IPPR said women are disproportionately employed in tasks most impacted by the technology. At the same time, young people will miss out on graduate schemes as companies increasingly favour using AI over hiring.

“Already existing GenAI could lead to big labour market disruption or it could hugely boost economic growth, either way it is set to be a game changer for millions of us,” said Carsten Jung, senior economist at IPPR.

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“A jobs apocalypse is not inevitable – government, employers and unions have the opportunity to make crucial design decisions now that ensure we manage this new technology well. If they don’t act soon, it may be too late,” he added. 

Researchers at the IPPR estimated that AI will wipe out eight million jobs in the UK if no policy changes are made.

The UK government has dismissed the research as “hugely speculative”. 

“We continue to assess the impact of AI on different sectors and ensure employers play a leading role in building robust UK skills and talent,” the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology said in a statement. 

“We are also working with Innovate UK and the Alan Turing Institute to develop guidance on the core AI skills people need, which will be published later this year.”

The department said that AI contributes over £3.7bn annually to the UK economy.

Jaeger Glucina, MD and chief of staff at Luminance, told Verdict that the industry should view the rise of AI as an opportunity rather than something to fear. 

“As AI technology continues to reshape the digital evolution, embracing this opportunity to innovate the workforce will not only position the UK at the forefront of technological advancement but also catalyse economic growth,” Glucina said. 

“The UK is well-positioned to prepare its workforce for this paradigm shift, given it is a hub for world-class universities and tech start-ups,” she added.