Is the UK Concerned about Bots Taking Their Jobs?

Posted by
02/23/2017 - 09:16

Countless stories and studies warn of the inevitable loss of millions of jobs due to automation. But are consumers as worried about losing their job to a robot as these stories and studies suggest they should be?

We commissioned a survey of 1,000 UK consumers age 18 and over to determine how concerned they are about losing their jobs to automation and which jobs and industries they see as most at risk. Today, we are releasing the full report here, and we’ve highlighted key findings below.

  • 64.2% of UK consumers agree or strongly agree that, while many other industries are at risk of losing jobs to automation, theirs is secure.
  • Only 12.6% of respondents are very worried or extremely worried about losing their job to automation.
  • 26.6% of respondents wouldn’t trust a robot to replace any job.


Bots don’t scare me.

Similar to consumers in the US, respondents in the UK feel very secure in their job. 62.1% of respondents feel very secure and confident that their job/industry will still exist in 10 years, and 44.6% reported that they never fear losing their job to automation. In fact, UK consumers fear a struggling economy more than robots. A majority of respondents (37.5%) believe the greatest threat to their job security is a struggling economy, followed by poor pay (18.2%), and, finally, automation (14.6%).

While it isn’t their top concern, consumers aren’t dismissing the threat automation poses completely. Of those surveyed, 64.2% said they either somewhat agree or strongly agree with the idea that their jobs are safe from automation but other industries should be concerned.

Bots should scare you.

According to UK consumers, the industries most at risk of automation in the next 20 years include manufacturing/transport/logistics (40.9%), accounting/banking/finance (35.4%), and information technology (31.6%). In regard to which particular jobs will disappear in 20 years, factory worker (44.1%) and store cashier (39.8%) topped the list.

The least at-risk jobs, according to consumers, are doctor/nurse (3.2%), lawyer (3.4%), journalist (5%), and researcher (6%).

Are you prepared?

While most respondents feel automation doesn’t pose a risk to their job, many reported taking measures to increase their job security: 43.8% of respondents have taken courses to learn skills while 13.4% have gone back to school to study for a new career.

These professional development opportunities help, but when you consider the University of Oxford and Deloitte found that 35% of UK jobs are at risk of being lost to automation within the next 10–20 years, it’s not enough. Significant steps need to be taken now and at a global scale to prepare for a vastly different workplace. The main question is, what is the next step?

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