Imagine you are an HR professional at a firm. This firm is considering hiring freshers in the placement season this coming academic year (2023-24). How should you think about your hiring this year?
- The macroeconomic situation in the coming year is a factor, as it is every year. You will want to bake in formal assumptions about the state of the economy during hiring, and for whenever these students join your firms (typically sometime between January 2024 and July 2024). If not formal assumptions, you will still want to have a “gut” feel for this point. My personal opinion is that you should expect a marginally worse macroeconomic situation in the coming year than is the case now, at best. This will have a negative impact on your hiring decision.
- Your senior management will either already have asked you, or will in very short order ask you to come up with an estimate of how much the productivity increase has been across all teams as a consequence of ChatGPT and its competitors.
- Say you work for an analytics firm. Let’s imagine a team working on credit card risk analytics. How much more productive is each member of an existing team because they can now work with ChatGPT? Does it take less time to rustle up code? Less time to summarize a report? Less time to cook up a fifty page deck? Less time to <insert activity here>? If yes, how much time is saved per week? Whatever your answer, can this time be used to do the work that the new, inexperienced joinee fresh out of college would have done instead?
- Say you work for a telecom firm. Repeat.
- Say you work for a market research firm. Repeat.
- Say you work for a think tank. Repeat.
- Say you work for a financial research firm. Repeat.
- Say you work for a media outfit in the print domain. Repeat.
- Say you work for an advertising firm. Repeat.
- <Insert firm of your choice here>. Repeat.
- Of course I asked our new overlord this question, specifically for analytics firms. “Say you work for an analytics firm. Let’s imagine a team working on credit card risk analytics. How much more productive, on average, is each member of an existing team because they can now work with ChatGPT? Give me an estimate of hours saved per week by a typical member of such a team.”
It tried to avoid giving me an estimate at first, but I insisted, with a little bit of prompting (“A lack of accuracy is fine, and give me a range, if that works better. Assume that a team member works for about forty hours per week. Very roughly speaking, what range will the number of hours saved fall in?”). It guessed somewhere between two to eight hours. Let’s use the midpoint of that estimate, and assume four hours. Assume it is a ten member team, that’s forty hours across the entire team. That’s a work -week for a new joinee. Should we pay two thousand rupees per month to OpenAI, or (say) one hundred thousand rupees to a new joinee?
Yes, the one hundred thousand rupees is a somewhat random number, but my point holds, so long as the new joinee earns more than two thousand rupees per month. Why? Because that is how much it currently costs for paid access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT4.
It is a slightly different, but fairly similar conversation in the case of lateral hires. We’re about to find out very soon, but if I was a betting man, I would bet on lesser hiring across academic campuses this coming academic year. And with a slightly lower probability, less hiring in general because of the advent of LLM’s.
We all keep saying that jobs will be lost – I tried to ask myself what the initial steps, in reality, would actually look like. This scenario looks all too plausible to me.
If you are working in a corporate organization and reading this, I would like to hear from you. Are these conversations taking place? I’m not (for now) looking for concrete data. I just want to get a sense of how far along the curve have discussions such as these reached.
If you are a student hoping to sit for placements this coming year, I would like to hear from you. Have you thought about such a scenario? How likely do you think this scenario is, and how are you planning for it?
We live, as the curse (apparently) goes, in interesting times.