Two-Thirds of Jobs Are at Risk: Goldman Sachs A.I. Study

The investment bank's economists estimate that 46% of administrative positions, 44% of legal positions, and 37% of engineering jobs could be replaced by artificial intelligence.

A group of workers standing in front of a building
White-collar jobs are at a high risk of being replaced by A.I. Carl Court/Getty Images

As many as 300 million full-time jobs in the world, including two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. and Europe, are at risk of being replaced in some way by generative artificial intelligence, the technology behind tools like ChatGPT, according to a Goldman Sachs (GS) study this week.

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“If generative AI delivers on its promised capabilities, the labor market could face significant disruption,” the investment bank’s economists wrote in a report.

What jobs are at the most at-risk and where?

The impact of A.I. disruption will be felt most deeply in developed countries, like the U.S. and European Union nations, the study noted, because those economies support a large number of white-collar jobs that are more prone to automation than manual labor-intensive work does.

In the U.S., 46 percent of office and administrative support positions could potentially be replaced by A.I., Goldman Sachs estimates. About 44 percent of legal positions could be automated, and 37 percent of engineering jobs are at risk.

Overall, approximately two-thirds of current jobs in the U.S. and Europe are exposed to some degree of A.I. automation, and up to a quarter of all work could be replaced by machines completely, the bank said, adding that, of affected positions where humans are still needed, as much as half of their workload could be computerized.

Tech elites raise alarm on A.I.’s threat to human jobs

Bill Gates painted a similarly alarming picture recently. In a lengthy blog post last week, the Microsoft cofounder predicted using tools like ChatGPT will increasingly feel like “having a white-collar worker available to help you with various tasks.”

Gates said A.I. has the potential of outperforming human workers in job functions like sales, service and document handling, where there are a plethora of good and bad examples for an algorithm to learn from.

Earlier this week, Elon Musk and hundreds of tech entrepreneurs and academics signed a letter urging A.I. labs to pause training systems that are more powerful than OpenAI’s GPT-4 until the industry develops a shared set of safety protocols.

“We must ask ourselves: Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones?” said the letter, authored by nonprofit Future of Life Institute. “Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us?”

It’s not all doom-and-gloom

Goldman Sachs economists appear more optimistic. They noted technological advancement that initially displaces human workers has historically also created employment and economic growth over the long term.

“Although the impact of A.I. on the labor market is likely to be significant, most jobs and industries are only partially exposed to automation and are thus more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by A.I.,” the report said.

Widespread adoption of A.I. will greatly increase productivity and boost global economic output by 7 percent annually over a 10-year period, which is more than double the typical economic growth rate of industrialized nations, Goldman Sachs predicted.

Two-Thirds of Jobs Are at Risk: Goldman Sachs A.I. Study