IBM pauses hiring for roles – including HR – that could be replaced by AI

CEO cites more mundane HR tasks becoming fully automated

IBM pauses hiring for roles – including HR – that could be replaced by AI

IBM expects to pause hiring for roles it thinks could be replaced with artificial intelligence in the coming years, according to Bloomberg.

Hiring for back-office functions — such as human resources — will be suspended or slowed, said CEO Arvind Krishna.

These non-customer-facing roles amount to roughly 26,000 workers, he said: “I could easily see 30% of that getting replaced by AI and automation over a five-year period.”

That would mean roughly 7,800 jobs lost, and part of any reduction would include not replacing roles vacated by attrition, an IBM spokesperson said in Bloomberg.

IBM was recently in the spotlight after court documents showed some older employees were referred to as “dinobabies.”

Mundane tasks face automation

More mundane tasks such as providing employment verification letters or moving employees between departments will likely be fully automated, Krishna said in Bloomberg, while other HR functions, such as evaluating workforce composition and productivity, probably won’t be replaced over the next decade. 

“While there’s lots of areas in which ChatGPT can help speed up HR’s processes, leaders need to tread carefully in some cases – specially around sensitive topics,” said one HR leader recently, speaking to HRD.

IBM has a workforce of roughly 260,000 people, though it announced job cuts earlier this year, which may amount to about 5,000 workers once completed. But Krishna said the company has added to its workforce overall, bringing on about 7,000 people in the first quarter of 2023.

ChatGPT gives HR leaders new capabilities, but some worry about losing the “human” in Human Resources, say HR leaders talking to HRD.

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