Workers View Robots as Workforce Killers, but Most Feel Their Job Is Safe

One-in-10 workers are concerned about losing their current jobs due to workforce automation, but competition from lower-paid human workers and broader industry trends pose a more immediate worry.

WASHINGTON – The majority of Americans are of the mind the threat of automation will continue to wreak havoc on the nation’s workforce, yet even a greater number of U.S. citizens don’t think their own jobs are at risk.

That’s according to a Pew Research Center report released March 10 on the public’s views about the future of workforce automation. The nonpartisan think tank surveyed 2,001 adults and found that 65% expect that 50 years from now, robots and computers will do much of the work that’s currently done by humans.

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Still, a much larger share – 80% – expect their jobs to exist five decades from now. The report did not indicate why the disconnect exists, although it did find largely similar trends across demographic groups. Generally, higher percentages of people who were young than 50-years-old, had a college degree, had higher household incomes or worked in the government, education or nonprofit sectors thought it was unlikely that robots and computers would do much of the work in 50 years that employees currently do.

Those respondents whose jobs involve manual labor were more likely to think their position would either “definitely” or “probably” exist in 50 years (82%) than those who work as managers or executives (73%).

The Pew survey also asked respondents what they thought might cause them to lose their job. Just 11% answered that their employer might replace human workers with machines or software. A few more said perhaps because they can’t keep up their skills, because someone else might do the job for less or the industry overall may shrink.

A little more than quarter of respondents said they were worried about their position because of how poorly their company is managed.

You can read the full report here.

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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