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Anne Rutledge Predicts a Disruptive Impact on Jobs Due to AI Adoption in South Africa

Published September 29, 2023
9 months ago

According to the Executive Director of Talent Solutions at Resourgenix, Anne Rutledge, the increasing integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in the industry might lead to a significant disruption in South Africa's job market. Citing predictions from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs 2023 report, she warns against potential job displacements and a widening gap in economic inequalities in the country. The transforming industry could change nearly 23% of global jobs in the next five years.

Rutledge, while acknowledging the potential productivity gains AI technologies could yield, emphatically stated that companies in South Africa are yet to get ready for this inevitable wave of change. She deduced that the adoption of AI tools should be gradual, noting that automating every aspect all at once might not be a sustainable strategy.

She encouraged companies to upskill and reskill their workforce to match the changing industry requirements, emphasizing the criticality of bridging the skills gap in the South African job market. Additionally, she touched upon the importance of taking a measured approach towards integrating AI tools and maintaining a balance between efficiency and security to mitigate risks pertaining to data privacy.

Rutledge also issued a cautionary note about using AI tools such as ChatGPT for CV writing, stating they should be used more as guidelines while retaining the human creativity to it. This underlines her firm belief that AI can never entirely replace the human touch, despite the increasing automation and adoption of AI applications.

She asserts that retaining the human element is essential in sectors like recruitment. AI significantly can speed up screening and matching of skills, yet the nuances of personal conversations during the screening process are equally important for effective recruitment.

Rutledge also discussed the significant demand for IT skills, developers, and DevOps in South Africa, stating that while roles focused on mundane tasks will likely face the brunt of automation, legal jobs will still require a human touch. She advised that individuals looking to enhance employability should consider complementing their traditional skills with AI proficiency.

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