Earn Careers

AI Is Replacing Jobs Done By Women — Here’s What You Should Do Next

Kathryn Tuggle  |  June 6, 2023

What to do if you’re worried that AI may be replacing your job, and how to level-up with the skills you need to succeed. 

From the moment women stepped foot into office buildings, we’ve faced an uphill battle to be seen, heard, and treated fairly in the workplace. There’s the gender wage gap that means we earn just 84 cents on the dollar that every man earns (for women of color, this gap is far greater), we just emerged from the pandemic-induced “she-cession” that cost us 25 years’ worth of progress towards female labor force participation, and don’t even get us started on how we still, in 2023, lack anything close to adequate childcare solutions. 

At this point, maybe you were hoping for some good news, but alas, there’s a new worry on the horizon for women — artificial intelligence (AI) is now coming after our jobs. I hear you griping that they’re coming after everyone’s jobs, but new reports show that in the near-term, they’re coming after women’s jobs, specifically. 

Subscribe: Join us every week for our awesome (and totally free) HerMoney newsletter. Subscribe to HerMoney today and find out for yourself what our incredible community has to offer!

According to data from Goldman Sachs, AI is expected to replace 300 million full-time jobs over the course of the next decade, and analysis by the Kenan Institute found that  eight out of 10 women (nearly 59 million) work in occupations that are “highly exposed to generative AI automation” vs. six out of 10 men (48.6 million). (“Highly exposed” is defined as a job wherein 25%-50% of the tasks could be performed by generative AI.) 

In other words, 21% more women are facing a layoff or job elimination due to AI than men — despite the fact that there are more men in the workforce overall.

What Jobs Will AI Replace?

Data from human resources analytics firm Revelio Labs shows several industries where AI is likely to replace humans: executive assistants, bill and account collectors, admin assistants and payroll clerks — in other words, jobs most often held by women. The Kenan Institute found that positions in human resources were likely to be eliminated along with jobs in the legal field (paralegals specifically), engineering, management and sales. Also at risk: jobs held by educators, translators, librarians, travel agents, designers and architects. Even jobs for computer programmers, once thought to be the “job of the future” aren’t safe, and there are widespread reports of copywriters and marketing professionals already losing jobs, because generative AI programs like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard can write clever copy so much faster — and so much cheaper. 

The elimination of these jobs is arriving much sooner than we thought — IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna recently told Bloomberg that IBM is pausing hiring for back-office roles similar to these, and predicts that as up to 30% of these positions at IBM (nearly 8,000 jobs) could be replaced by AI over the course of the next 5 years. So, this is real. This is happening. 

“Digital technologies are transforming labor markets — we can’t hide from it. And we know that AI has a gendered effect on labor,” says Jaclynn Brennan, founder and CEO of Fyli, a global female mastermind community for early-stage founders. “In times of transition, it’s always the most vulnerable communities that are impacted first, and that tends to be female minorities.” (None of the data HerMoney looked at broke down the numbers by race, but we’re digging into it, and we’ll update you as soon as we learn more.) 

Are There Any “AI-Proof” Jobs Or Industries? 

No industry will ever be completely “AI proof,” explains Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates and a civil rights attorney for gender justice. But there are certain sectors that may be more resistant to automation. “Jobs that require high-level creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills are less likely to be easily replaced by AI,” she says. “Interestingly, women are overrepresented in some of these ‘AI-proof’ jobs, but in lower-paid industries like childcare, elder care, and education.” 

Yet even when we look at childcare and eldercare, AI will still impact those fields. (The Kenan analysis showed that 26% of the tasks of “healthcare support’ positions could be automated.) “In situations where you need daily or hourly monitoring of, say, blood pressure or temperature, that’s just going to be a wearable device that’s giving automated prompts and reporting data back to physicians,” Brennan says. 

But in general, when we look at jobs with the lowest risk of automation, positions in the medical field are the most secure, including nurses, physicians assistants, physical therapists, and dentists, Brennan says. “But eventually AI is going to impact every single category, so the best way to move forward is with access to digital skills.” 

So, About Those Digital Skills… How Can We Get Them? 

Women working in all industries need to realize that AI isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — in fact, if we think we’ve seen “explosive” growth so far (and we have), we ain’t seen nothing yet. By 2030, AI is expected to contribute 15.7 trillion to the global economy, according to research from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Which means companies will be eager to advance their AI efforts, and the use of the technology will continue to grow exponentially. 

AI isn’t something that’s simply going to go away because we refuse to use ChatGPT, which means it’s time we start talking about a game plan for how to deal with it — especially if we work in one of the industries likely to be impacted. 

“It all comes down to women having digital skills,” Brennan says. “This starts with getting more women into STEM fields, into accelerator programs, and mentorship programs to learn those skills. We have to be educating ourselves and upping our digital skills, ASAP.” 

Brennan cited several free resources to do just that: 

  • Stanford University offers several free online courses on AI 
  • Google has a free (and in-depth) machine learning course 
  • Udacity offers a free “AI Fundamentals” course 
  • Coursera has a “Supervised Machine Learning” course 

Depressingly, just 22% of jobs in AI are held by women today — so as we’re looking to learn the skills that can help us succeed in the years to come, we also need to consider careers in AI itself. (And this disparity is important because as long as the field is more heavily male, it means there’s a greater risk for unconscious gender bias within AI, Ferrell cautions.) 

“Fortunately, much can be achieved through on-the-job training or classes without the need for additional degrees,” Farrell says. “Even if AI plays a larger role in the workplace, qualified humans will still be needed to maximize its benefits.” 

Okay. So I’m Going To Learn A New Digital Skill. What Else Can I Do? 

Women should also hold their elected officials and lawmakers accountable for passing policies that would encourage employers to train employees with the new digital skills required to meet the technological changes ahead, Farrell says. We need “policies to shore up the economic security of these workers now so they have greater mobility later,” should AI eliminate those jobs, she explains. These policies include those that would help women enter higher-paid jobs, require pay equity, and support working mothers.  

Also, women should talk with their employers and stay informed about technological advancements and their projected impact on their jobs, Farrell says — especially if you’re unclear exactly what AI advancements might mean for your industry. 

So, What Should I Do If I’m Working In An Industry Likely To Face Layoffs Due To AI? 

We asked Brennan: If you were an executive assistant or a travel agent, what would you be looking at right now? 

“If I’m in one of those industries, if I’m passionate about it, I would continue to do it. But I would use AI to become more efficient, and learn how to use that automation in my everyday business, to power my career,” she says. “But if I’m not passionate about it, and I don’t want to spend time learning how AI can help me level-up my skill set and stand out, I would look to pivot into something that has a lower risk of automation.” 

No matter how you feel about the advancements in AI, the most important thing to keep in mind as you move forward with your career is that our global economy is changing — forever. 

“Things are only going to keep accelerating,” Brennan says. “If we push back, we’re going to be left behind. We have to work with it, and not fight the tide.” 


Aaand once you’re done with your binge listening, don’t forget to join us every week for our awesome (and totally free) HerMoney newsletter. Subscribe to HerMoney today and find out for yourself what our incredible community has to offer!

Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. Posts may contain references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.

Next Article: