LONDON — Public relations is among the professions most likely to be impacted by the rise of artificial intelligence, according to a new UK government report.

The ‘Impact of AI on UK Jobs and Training’ report, produced by the Unit for Future Skills in the Department for Education, is one of the first attempts to quantify the impact of AI on the UK job market. Using a methodology and “AI occupational exposure score” developed in the US, the report shows the occupations, sectors and areas that are expected to be most impacted by AI and large language models – including generative AI such as ChatGPT – specifically.

“Public relations professionals” are ranked as the ninth most likely to be impacted by large language modelling, after occupations such as HR and law and just ahead of management consultants.

In terms of the occupations most likely to be impacted by all AI application, management consultants and business analysts top the list, with “marketing associate professionals” in 20th place. Overall, the “information and communication” industry is the second-most exposed to the impact of AI, after finance and insurance.

The report has a caveat, however: “The estimates of which jobs are more exposed to AI are based on a number of uncertain assumptions so the results should be interpreted with caution. Quantifying occupations in terms of abilities to perform a job role will never fully describe all roles.

“Further, the extent to which occupations are exposed to AI will change due to the pace at which AI technologies are developing and as new data becomes available. However, the themes highlighted by the analysis are expected to continue and provide a good basis for considering the relative impact of AI across different parts of the labour market.”

Agency advisor Stephen Waddington, who this week published a new book, ‘AI Tools for Public Relations’, said the report did not take account of the breadth of skills and expertise in the PR industry.

He told PRovoke Media: “The report is well intentioned but it has created a formula that abstracts professions down to a formula, and has come out with rather blunt answers. Machines can create content, but that’s such a narrow perspective of what we do.

“Public relations is a broad church, from social media content to helping businesses make critical decisions about supply chains and whether to pull out of Russia or the Middle East. AI tools have value to help us work more effectively, from producing first drafts to interrogating data sets from different stakeholder perspectives, but that’s additive. You can train a model, but the moment it gets into an aspect of cultural or social nuance it’s going to blow up; PR is reliant on a relationship perspective and emotional intelligence.”