Only 1% of blue-collar jobs were currently at risk of being automated by AI, according to HR services firm TeamLease Services. In addition, AI can enhance blue-collar workers’ productivity in ways that could improve their pay, and companies are already investing in such technology.
Even as the debate around artificial intelligence displacing humans from jobs rages on, there’s one segment that experts say is relatively safe — blue-collar workers, a numerical majority of the country’s workforce.
HR services firm TeamLease Services, citing research, said only 1% of blue-collar jobs were currently at risk of being automated by AI.
In fact, AI can enhance blue-collar workers’ productivity in ways that could improve their pay, and companies are already investing in such technology. Companies are also investing in upskilling their blue-collar employee base — and this is another area where AI, specifically generative AI, is playing a role, according to experts.
“Counterintuitively, it (AI) is going to displace more white-collar jobs than blue-collar jobs,” Balasubramanian A, vice president and business head – TeamLease Services, told ET.
This is because blue-collar jobs typically involve physical tasks and hands-on skills with adaptability that is difficult for AI to replicate at this point in time, he explained.
“With respect to blue-collar jobs, I see AI being transformative rather than being a displacement,” Balasubramanian said.
For instance, AI has helped improve the productivity of delivery partners, dark store workers, warehouse and fulfilment centre workers and so on and reduced waiting times by enabling them to predict orders, ensure that the required inventory is stocked, and provide route optimisation for delivery.
Software-as-a-service platform BetterPlace, has been developing and deploying proof-of-concept generative AI solutions for its customers to create video, text and image-based learning content to upskill blue-collar employees.
“We are extremely excited about what generative AI can do in terms of every part of a frontline worker’s journey,” said Ved Antani, chief product and technology officer, BetterPlace. AI can have a transformative impact on this segment, Antani added.
Organisations can see significant optimisation in terms of costs, time and improved talent, he said, adding that a genAI solution to parse and summarise resumes is live with one of India’s largest ecommerce platforms and could help cut down the time recruiters spend screening resumes by around 60%.
The cost that enterprises incur is also in the line of getting reduced by 30-40% by a software solution, Antani said. This is because, instead of hiring a number of people to write skilling content, just one person who writes the prompts would suffice.
AI is also used to automatically match what the worker requires to the relevant learning content in a targeted manner.
For instance, an auto driver on the ride-hailing app Namma Yatri, a BetterPlace partner, will automatically be shown learning content on how to improve if they get a bad rating, Antani said.
“70% of the people who are on the frontline, when we talk to them, say that they are very keen to continuously upskill themselves to get a job that can pay more,” Antani said.