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Ranking Industries by Their Potential for AI Automation



The following content is sponsored by MSCI

Ranking Industries by Their Potential for AI Automation

Since the release of tools like ChatGPT, artificial intelligence (AI) has begun to permeate industries worldwide, transforming the way we work and live.

To gain insight into this rapidly evolving landscape, our sponsor MSCI has ranked U.S. industries by their estimated share of employment that could be exposed to AI-driven automation.

Data and Highlights

This analysis comes from a March 2023 report published by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. 

The authors estimated automation exposure for over 900 U.S. jobs using the O*NET occupational database, which provides details on the types of tasks each occupation conducts. Exposure estimates were then weighted by the employment share of each occupation, and aggregated to the industry level. 

IndustryEstimated Share of U.S. Employment Exposed to AI (%)
Office and administrative support46%
Architecture and engineering37%
Life, physical, and social science36%
Business and financial operations35%
Community and social service33%
Sales and related31%
Computer and Mathematical29%
Farming, fishing, and forestry28%
Protective service28%
Healthcare practitioners and technical28%
Educational instruction and library27%
Healthcare support26%
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media26%
All industries average25%
Personal care and service19%
Food preparation and serving related12%
Transportation and material moving11%
Construction and extraction6%
Installation, maintenance, and repair4%
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance1%

According to these findings, “office and administrative support” will likely be the most affected by AI-driven automation at 46%. This transformation could largely impact common tasks such as data entry, scheduling meetings, and document management.

The second highest industry, “legal”, trails close behind at 44%. AI is expected to automate legal processes like contract analysis, and could even be used to anticipate court case outcomes.

As expected, industries that won’t be heavily impacted are those that rely heavily on manual labor, like “construction and extraction.” 

Benchmarking the Automated Future

AI is still a very new and developing technology. How it will impact labor productivity in the future depends on its capability (how fast it improves) and adoption (how quickly people and businesses begin using it). 

Adoption rates are unlikely to be the same around the world, as survey results have shown that some countries are more optimistic towards AI than others.

Under the most aggressive scenario, Goldman Sachs believes that AI automation could impact up to 300 million jobs globally and potentially result in a 7% increase in annual GDP (equal to about $7 trillion). 

Given AI’s massive potential for disruption, it’s more important than ever for investors to stay ahead. That’s why MSCI has created the MSCI ACWI IMI Robotics & AI Index, which benchmarks an investable universe of companies associated with the adoption of AI, robotics, and automation.

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