LinkedIn seems to be planning an AI 'coach' to assist you with job searching, applications, and researching a company's culture

 The job market is cooling. Though it remains strong — and workers still have leverage — their power doesn’t seem to be as broad-based as it was earlier in the pandemic, say labor experts.

These days, whether employees still enjoy considerable leverage — to find a new job or get a raise, for example — “depends on what industry workers are in,” said Daniel Zhao, lead economist at career site Glassdoor.

“That’s a different response than might have been given in 2021 or 2022 when the market seemed to be hot all over the place,” Zhao said.

Job openings surged to historic highs as the U.S. economy started to reopen after a pandemic-era lull. Americans, buoyed by their job prospects, also quit their jobs at a record pace, a trend that came to be known as the “great resignation.” Wage growth surged at the fastest rate in decades amid stiff competition for labor; layoffs dropped to historic lows.

Put simply: Workers across the economy enjoyed unprecedented job security.

Evidence suggests that dynamic is gradually easing.

Job openings fell slightly in June to about 9.6 million — still well above historical norms but down from more than 12 million at their peak in March 2022, according to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey issued Tuesday.

About 150 million jobs will shift to older workers by 2030, says Bain & Company
About 150 million jobs will shift to older workers by 2030, says Bain & Company

The “quits” rate — the number of people quitting in June as a share of total employment — is hovering near its pre-pandemic level. The rate of hiring among employers declined in June to 3.8%, roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels, according to the JOLTS report.

“The JOLTS data are consistent with further immaculate cooling of the labor market,” wrote Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University and former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration.

The Federal Reserve has raised borrowing costs aggressively — with the aim of slowing the economy and inflation — and banks have tightened lending, all of which ultimately impact the job market.

Conditions have ‘normalized substantially’

Though conditions have “normalized substantially” since the great resignation’s peak from mid-2021 to mid-2022, 8% more employees are quitting their jobs each month than before the pandemic, and layoffs remain 22% lower, said Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

Now, worker leverage is more industry-specific, economists said.

For example, the finance and insurance sector in June saw job openings below their pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

Conversely, “arts, entertainment and recreation” saw record-low layoffs and record-high quits, Pollak said.

“Workers are in high demand across the sector as Americans flood back to concerts, baseball games, and movie theaters,” Pollak wrote. “Quits in the industry hit an all-time high, and workers found it easier to switch into better jobs.”

Job openings across state and local government are also at all-time highs, suggesting municipalities “are now on a hiring spree” now that competition for workers is a bit less intense in the private sector, she said.

“Certain industries are still very hot,” Zhao said. “It’s more important for job seekers to understand what’s going on in their industry than it might have been a year or two ago.”

Another AI-powered tool may be on the way to help with job hunting. LinkedIn seems to be planning the release of an AI "coach" to assist users with job searching, applications, and researching things like a company's culture.

App researcher and web developer Nima Owji, who uncovers potential upcoming features of different apps that have yet to be deployed by scouring the apps' code, shared a screenshot of the assistant on Twitter.

"Introducing LinkedIn Coach," the page reads. "Apply for jobs, learn new skills, and find more ways to connect with your network — all backed by the power of AI."


The tool gives examples of what users might be able to ask, like "How does Coach work?," "What does Microsoft do?," and "What is the culture of Microsoft?" 

LinkedIn has been testing out a new AI-generated chat feature for LinkedIn Premium users to help people message about job opportunities, though Insider reporter Grace Dean tried it out and found mixed results.

Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, has been working on many other AI-related projects. The company made its Bing GPT-4 chatbot available to the public earlier this year and has been developing an artificial intelligence chip, code-named Athena, since 2019. Major accounting and consulting company KPMG recently announced a partnership with Microsoft for the joint development of generative AI tools for KPMG's employees and clients. Microsoft has also been a multi-billion dollar investor in OpenAI.

LinkedIn did not comment specifically on the development of the Coach tool. When asked about it, company representative Amanda Purvis told Insider in a statement over email: "We are always exploring new ways to improve our member's experience on LinkedIn and will have more to share soon."

Microsoft clearly isn’t backing down in the race for generative AI. Since announcing that ChatGPT would be added to its Bing search engine back in February, we’ve seen Microsoft deliver a continuous drip of bold announcements regarding generative AI capabilities. July saw that trend continue.

First: the news most of us have been waiting for—how much does Copilot cost? At its recently held annual Inspire event, Microsoft announced pricing on its AI-supported Copilot app for customers using Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium. As a reminder, Copilot was announced in March 2023 and is an AI assistant that works across Microsoft apps to help automate tasks as well as create content. This includes things like auto-generative PowerPoint Presentations and taking notes in Microsoft Teams meetings. According to Microsoft, Copilot will be available for $30 per user per month, which seems fairly reasonable, even to the smaller business owner. It’s still unclear when Copilot will be available on a mass scale, however. It’s currently available to just about 600 enterprise customers globally—I expect that to increase substantially in the next quarter.

In addition to Copilot news, Microsoft announced that it is expanding Bing Chat to include a variation specifically for the enterprise, as well as Visual Search capabilities.

First, Bing Chat Enterprise. It’s a work-focused version of Bing Chat that allows users to ask questions and get answers using generative AI but for work purposes. According to the site, it can do things like help write a sales pitch, compare marketing strategies, or create a SWOT analysis for a specific project. Similar to the regular Bing Chat, it uses web data and provides citations so users know exactly where the information they’re receiving is sourced from. According to Microsoft, user and business data will be secured, and Microsoft itself will have a “no eyes-on access” to it. Business data will not be used to train LLM models. Bing Chat enterprise is available in preview form and is free with Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium plans. Stand-alone offerings will be available sometime in the future—sorry for the vague timeline—for $5/month per user.

Next, Visual Search via Bing Chat is already rolling out in desktop and mobile variations. The function is similar to Google Image Search, which allows you to search for information with an image, rather than text. This is super useful in trying to determine the source or veracity of a photo, for instance. Microsoft says it’s hoping to bring Visual Search to Bing Chat Enterprise soon. Not a huge announcement, but still worth sharing.

In other Copilot news, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 are adding a new sales-specific Copilot—aptly named Sales Copilot—to its offering. This variation of Copilot is specifically for sales teams and is meant to connect users’ CRM, Microsoft 365, and Teams apps. Sales Copilot’s skills include creating emails based on Dynamics 365 Sales data, auto-generating summaries of customer data from Teams, Outlook, and Dynamics, and real-time tips for use during Teams meetings. Although it’s a Microsoft tool, it can be added to other CRMs like Salesforce, although that will require licensing costs. Again, we’re seeing a focus on curating data from various sources and generating a document, report, or email that doesn’t just save time but adds value for the end user.

This week, Microsoft released its Q4 earnings report which showed that the generative AI has buoyed performance over the last quarter. Despite a slight decline in Azure revenue YoY, the growth was still 26%. There was also a 10% increase in Microsoft’s productivity and business process segment. This overall resulted in a revenue increase of 8%. In the near term, investing in its AI ambitions will come with a cost, but the company’s CFO Amy Hood indicated that it expects the investment to pay off in the latter part of its fiscal year, which started July 1. Overall, I believe that Microsoft has done a good job of building its portfolio to take advantage of its OpenAI partnership—furthermore, I appreciate that the company is approaching commercialization in a more transparent way to help investors understand how AI impacts the company’s business performance.

What I see next for Microsoft in its generative AI venture is a steady rise in competition, but this shouldn’t scare Microsoft or its stakeholders. As Microsoft continues to layer generative AI capabilities into its apps across Dynamics, Teams, Office, and Windows, we can be sure Google, Amazon, Salesforce, SAP, Adobe, Oracle, and many others will be eager to respond. In general, I think we’ll be seeing new partnerships and alliances forming as every business in Big Tech seeks out the ultimate everything-generative AI solution. In response to Microsoft’s specific Sales Copilot launch, for instance, we might see Google and Salesforce partner together for an alternative sales assistant solution—two powerhouses with complementary capabilities banding together to avoid obsolescence. As of now, Google’s variations of Copilot, Duet AI, aren’t gaining tons of traction. And Salesforce just announced the cost of its generative AI service, Sales GPT, at $50/month. The service is available immediately, and features include generating responses to customer questions and creating summaries of customer interactions. It’s yet to be seen how this tool fairs against Microsoft Sales Copilot. However, in many cases, we may see a heterogeneous environment where generative AI tools from several vendors co-exist—giving something for developers and AutoGPT to build around.

In the near term, it's no secret that Microsoft is benefiting from its aggressive early market positioning and diverse generative AI products versus many of its competitors due to its partnership with OpenAI. Its big issue now is getting users to the cloud so that they can utilize Copilot and fend off the competitive overtures which are going to continue to evolve across the portfolio. With its new program, AIM (accelerate, innovate, move) to help businesses with this transition, I’m more confident in its ability to execute. I’d say most companies are already at least somewhat cloud-functional at this point, but it’s smart of Microsoft to face the potential issue head-on. If users are not on the cloud, it's unlikely they will benefit from all that Microsoft Copilot has to offer.

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