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AI in the workplace: Are women at a greater risk?

At work, women are more vulnerable to AI disruption.

Women at work. — Image by © Tim Sandle
Women at work. — Image by © Tim Sandle

While women have long been contributing to the future of AI, women are also more vulnerable to the impact of automation, especially in the workplace. Specifically, 80 percent of women work in positions that are at risk of being disrupted by AI.

According to Cheryl Porro, SVP of Engineering at Betterworks, this does not need to be the case and action can be taken to mitigate this risk. Porro explains to Digital Journal: “The untapped potential of women in today’s workforce is glaring. Advancements in AI create the opportunity to shift their reality, but only if companies are willing to invest in upskilling this talented, motivated, and often under-utilized workforce.”

In a message of hope for improved equality, Porro adds: “This era of AI is the perfect time to not only bridge the gender gap, but to help women truly thrive in the workplace.”

Porro is keen to utilize AI to reach the untapped potential of women in the workplace, and how businesses can shatter AI’s glass ceiling.

In terms of specific examples for an AI-led equalities strategy, Porro says that AI-driven automation can streamline tasks and processes, offering more flexibility in work arrangements.

She observes: “This flexibility can benefit women who often juggle multiple responsibilities, including caregiving, allowing them to better balance work and personal life.”

Furthermore, Porro indicates that AI algorithms can tailor learning and development programs to individual employees’ needs and preferences.

Porro thinks: “This personalized approach can help women access training and upskilling opportunities that are specifically tailored to their career goals and areas for improvement.”

In terms of risk areas, there are some areas of the economy that are more vulnerable. Porro considers: “Because women are overrepresented in administrative, clerical, and customer service roles — which are more susceptible to automation — they are more vulnerable to AI disruption.”

In terms of concrete action to take, Porro puts forward the following ideas: “Companies should be investing in programs that equip employees with the hard and soft skills needed to grow and succeed. A skills-based approach to performance management has never been more important for organizations.”

This should be a pathway to success: “When everyone has access to tools they can use to advance their careers, not only is a more inclusive and prosperous workplace possible, but leaders can optimize talent for the future of work.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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