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Workers increasingly worried automation will make them redundant

automation
(Image credit: Image Credit: MNBB Studio / Shutterstock)

Concerns among employees that automation might make their roles redundant have been exacerbated by the pandemic, a new report from TotalJobs and Boston Consulting Group claims.

Polling more than 209,000 people in 190 countries, the pair found workers aged 31-40, especially those who were laid off during the pandemic, to be most fearful of AI and automation taking their jobs. This is despite the fact that this cohort had the smallest proportion of people laid-off. 

A third of UK workers became more worried about automation in the past year, with younger staff (under 20) being most wary (51 percent). Concerns about AI taking over is most pronounced in legal, insurance, media and finance industries.

Still, workers have shown plenty of will to retrain and upskill, to make sure they stay relevant in the future. 

Looking at the UK specifically (from a sample of 3,000 respondents), people with manual, service and manufacturing jobs were most willing to retrain. Industries in which most people were willing to retrain include insurance, consumer products and services, energy, and travel and tourism.

When looking to upskill, people rarely go “wild”; instead, they opt for roles in sectors similar to their existing ones. Of all the careers workers believe they can tap into with reskilling, digital and information technology tops the list.