IBM to freeze hiring as CEO sees AI replacing 7,800 jobs
Tech giant IBM is set to freeze recruitment as it expects Artificial Intelligence (AI) to replace roughly 7,800 roles in the near future, its CEO Arvind Krishna has said.
In an interview with Bloomberg News published on Tuesday, Krishna said he could “easily see” nearly 30% of IBM’s non-customer-facing roles getting replaced by AI and automation in the next five years.
About 26,000 workers are part of these non-customer-facing jobs, he added.
Nevertheless, back-office employees – who are usually not client-facing – are only a small portion of the company’s some 260,000 workers. IBM has continued to fill spots even after laying off about 5,000 employees in other areas, Bloomberg says.
No blanket hiring pause has been implemented, a spokesperson for the company told the AFP news agency, adding the company, based in Armonk, New York, was being “very selective” when hiring for roles that are not directly connected with “our clients or technology”.
The IBM CEO’s remarks come as rapid advancements in the field of artificial intelligence, including the growing popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, raise the possibility of huge disruption to several industries.
While some analysts have raised concerns over AI potentially triggering mass layoffs soon, others argue the technology is capable of complementing human workers and improving their productivity, and will eventually create several new jobs and even whole new industries.
The share price of learning company Chegg, based in California, plunged by almost 50% on Tuesday after its CEO Dan Rosensweig admitted on an earnings call that ChatGPT was affecting the firm’s “new customer growth rate”.