The majority of respondents say technological developments in the workplace may lead to a surge in unemployment.
A growing number of US workers worry that developing technologies will one day cost them their jobs, Bloomberg reported this week, citing a Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the American Staffing Association (ASA).
According to the report, 47% of respondents agree that machines could easily replace them at work. This is a notable increase from 2017, when a similar survey showed only 27% of workers thought automation, including robots and AI, could replace them.
“In just a few short years, worker attitudes toward artificial intelligence have changed drastically. Workers used to see AI programs as something that could help human workers. Now, workers are concerned AI could be replacing them altogether,” ASA CEO Richard Wahlquist said, commenting on the findings.
According to the survey, industrial workers see their jobs as most likely to be replaced by technology, while healthcare employees consider themselves the least exposed. Younger workers, blacks, and Hispanics appear to be the most concerned about potential changes in the job market due to technological developments, with roughly 55% of Generation Z and millennials certain that their jobs could be replaced. White Americans seem less worried about automation, with less than 40% saying they have similar fears. Among Baby Boomers, only 26% of respondents say they are concerned with the prospects of being replaced.
Overall, around 74% of respondents say they either ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’ that increased automation could cause a surge in unemployment.
Nevertheless, according to the findings, the majority of respondents from all strata see the increased use of technology in the workplace as largely a good thing, with more than 30% already using AI at work. Respondents with higher job levels appear to be more welcoming to automation in the workplace – while 65% of senior managers said it is good for workers, only 51% of middle range employees agreed.
The online survey was conducted on June 20-22 among 2,000 US adults.