A robotic hand typing on a laptop keyboard.

Many employees, especially those in creative fields, are understandably worried about the potential for artificial intelligence to take over their jobs. Recent research suggests that these concerns may be justified.

Reports show a decline in recruitment in certain areas after generative AIs were launched. This article aims to explore these findings and reflect on the future prospects. Read on to discover how AI is impacting freelancers.

Decline In Demand For Digital Freelancers

A report from Imperial College Business School, Harvard Business School, and the German Institute for Economic Research has shown a 21% decline in demand for digital freelancers in writing and coding since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022. 

This decrease has been particularly significant in fields prone to automation, such as writing, software development, and app creation. Check the percentage for each area below. 

  • Writing, software development, and app creation: 21% reduction in job listings
  • Data entry and social media post-production: 13% drop
  • Image generation (graphic design and 3D modeling): 17% decrease

Google search trends corroborate a more significant decline in sectors aware of and using generative AI. Continue reading to understand the actual strike upon job listings.

Impact On Job Listings: Is There Hope?

The study "Who is AI Replacing? The Impact of Generative AI on Online Freelancing Platforms" analyzed nearly two million job postings across 61 countries from July 2021 to July 2023. The research categorized jobs into automation-prone roles, manual work, and image generation. The findings revealed significant declines in job postings across these sectors following the introduction of ChatGPT.

Dr. Xinrong Zhu, co-author and Assistant Professor of Marketing at Imperial College Business School, noted, "ChatGPT has substantially impacted the workplace in just over a year. While many organizations might be transitioning from freelancers to generative AI, it remains uncertain whether they are satisfied with the quality of AI-generated work compared to that of freelancers and if this trend will persist."

Despite the gloomy outlook, the study offers some hope. Dr. Zhu added, "Although our research indicates a challenging job market, new professions often emerge when technology displaces existing ones. Freelancers who adapt their skill sets to the changing landscape will continue to find opportunities in the future."

What Can You Do Against AI Displacement?

The threat to digital freelancers is real and will likely grow as ChatGPT and other AI tools improve. The future may appear bleak, but it is not entirely without hope. Here are some steps to safeguard your career. Read on and get inspired.

  1. Diversify Your Skill Set: Focus on areas where human creativity and emotional intelligence are crucial, such as strategic thinking, complex problem-solving, and nuanced content creation.
  2. Embrace AI Tools: Use AI to boost productivity and the quality of your work, turning potential threats into advantages.
  3. Build A Personal Brand: Establish a solid personal brand and engage in extensive networking to find opportunities that purely AI-driven services cannot match.

It is also important to remember that AI-generated content often has limitations. ChatGPT might produce images with flaws, such as extra fingers or strange glitches, and articles might contain inaccuracies. AI-generated code can introduce logical and syntax errors, efficiency issues, and security vulnerabilities, all of which can be costly in the long run.