AI Spurs Job Security Concerns in U.S. Media and Tech

Anxiety over job security is high among U.S. tech and media workers — and some of that may be attributable to worker perceptions and uncertainty around the labor impact of AI within organizations.

Nearly half (48%) of U.S. workers in arts & entertainment indicated they were concerned about their job security over the next five years, while 57% in publishing and 70% in advertising cited concerns, according to a survey conducted in March by marketing education company Authority Hacker of 1,200 full-time U.S. employees spanning multiple industries.

The survey intended to understand the impact on worker sentiment, particularly amid the wave of layoffs in media and tech that has persisted into early 2024 since post-pandemic 2022.

Job cuts have been felt across industries, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas data provided to VIP+.

But a large portion is attributable to layoffs hitting the tech and media industries. Tech layoffs accounted for a peak share of 69% of total U.S. announced job cuts in November 2022 and made up double-digit percentages in 13 out of the next 15 months ending in February 2024, per VIP+ analysis of Challenger data.

The initial surge in post-COVID tech layoffs has largely been attributed to correcting overhiring during the pandemic. But the latest rounds over the last year suggest AI is also a culprit, as tech companies pivot to focus on building generative AI.

Further, job cuts attributable to AI may not always be explicit. Companies directly cited AI in 4,247 job reductions in 2023, and 383 as of February 2024, per Challenger. But to mitigate negative worker sentiment, companies have more often stated the reason for the cuts as a “technological update” — where such language has already accounted for 15,225 cuts through February 2024, roughly equal to the 15,489 since 2007.

The video game industry has been particularly hard hit in recent months, with already over 8,000 layoffs worldwide announced at companies including Electronic Arts, Sony, Unity Software, Microsoft and Riot Games. The vast majority (84%) of game developers surveyed in this year’s GDC “State of the Industry” report were very or somewhat concerned about the ethics of using generative AI in the game industry.

The development, growth and deployment of generative AI is expected to impact workers throughout the TMT sector, both positively as likely new job creation or productivity improvements and negatively as it relates to layoffs. Although most reported layoffs aren’t directly due to automation with generative AI, worker concerns reflect a growing sense that it will.


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