Survey Shows 8 In 10 Companies Plan To Lay Off Recent College Grads In 2024 Unless They Have One Specific Skill

The time to start learning how to leverage AI is now.

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There's no doubt about it — artificial intelligence is coming for a great deal of our jobs. But many of us might not have expected it to happen quite as quickly as it seems to be, and a new survey of employers shows that those just starting out in their careers might be first on the chopping block. 

Thankfully, there is still a way to remain competitive even in this shifting job market.

The survey showed a staggering number of companies plan to lay off recent college grads because of AI.

Particularly since the launch of the generative AI tool ChatGPT, the anticipation of what artificial intelligence will do to the job market has bordered on hysteria as the technology seems to be becoming a competitor a lot of us can't compete with.


Many feel that hysteria is way overblown, but a new survey by education media and research firm shows that it might not actually be that out of line — especially for those at the very beginning of their careers.

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Nearly 8 in 10 employers surveyed said they plan to eliminate jobs typically done by recent graduates or interns in 2024 and use AI tools instead.'s team surveyed 804 hiring managers across a spectrum of industries to discuss how AI tools impact their future plans. And what they found was frankly staggering.

Nearly 8 in 10 employers — 78% — said they plan to lay off recent college graduates and replace them with AI. And around 70% of respondents believe AI can easily do the jobs of recent grads and interns.

Many respondents reported that they had either significantly reduced hiring or already gotten rid of recent grads and interns for the same reason. More than half also said they trust AI more than they trust these young workers.

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That frankly absurd belief is a testament to how profit has become the be-all because even tech-industry insiders have recently expressed shock at how farcically bad generative AI seems to be at — well, almost everything.

To put it in perspective, business and finance magazine Forbes recently reported that according to Yann LeCun, Chief AI Scientist at Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, AI "'really sucks' when compared to the innate learning capabilities of even the simplest animals."

The fact that AI "really sucks," however, has not prevented businesses from leveraging it anyway. AI has already made a mess of the hiring process in ways that are not only annoying but downright dystopian.

@yourtango A job applicant says they received an AI rejection letter...for having an 'unprofessional' birthday #AI #artificialintelligence #worktok #jobapplication #rejectionletter ♬ original sound  - YourTango

But it's had even larger implications as well. The immense wave of strikes in the entertainment industry last year, for instance, was in part due to writers and actors fighting to secure contracts that would prohibit studios from replacing them with AI-generated scripts and visuals. Many believe their victory is only delaying the inevitable.


More importantly, according to one outplacement firm, AI has generated some 4,600 layoffs already in the past year, a number they say is "certainly undercounting." Those layoffs have happened everywhere, from the tech industry that created AI in the first place to the largest wave of layoffs in the entire history of the United Parcel Service.

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But Intelligent also found that there is one way that college students and recent grads can combat this — by acquiring AI skills.

There is a silver lining to this apocalyptic-sounding doom and gloom. Intelligent's survey also found that nearly all respondents placed a high value on candidates with skills in artificial intelligence.

Ninety-five percent of those surveyed, in fact, said they would be somewhat or far more likely to hire a recent college graduate with a background in AI — and a survey by consulting firm Ernst & Young found this is already happening alongside layoffs in what they called a "reshaping" of workforces.


So how do you beef up these skills? The good news is it doesn't require getting a second degree. Experts say certification programs and boot camps — whether at a university or online platforms like Coursera — can be powerful resume builders, as can things like "hackathons" that show off AI chops.

Experts also say that as AI takes over, so-called "soft skills" and "storytelling" skills that can't always be effectively replicated by machines will also be ever more in demand.

There's no way around the fact that AI is going to disrupt the work landscape. But leaning in, rather than turning away, can give present and future workers the edge they need to remain competitive in a rapidly shifting world.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.