• Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

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The Knowledge Academy

Artificial intelligence is booming among businesses, with global searches for ‘Will AI take my job?’  increasing by 2,900% since ChatGPT was first introduced in November 2022.

However, a recent study has indicated that one in six adults are more excited than concerned when it comes to AI. So, how worried are the next generation about AI hindering potential job prospects? 

The Knowledge Academy surveyed 2,000 UK students, aged between 12-60, and almost a quarter (23%) are worried that AI will impact their career prospects, but are they right to worry?

A recent report estimated around 300 million jobs could be impacted by AI, and 18% of work globally could be automated. However, more advanced economies are predicted to be more heavily affected than emerging markets.

According to a Forbes report, jobs in the information processing industries such as IT are the most at risk of being replaced by AI, because jobs that use “programming and writing skills” are more closely related to AI’s capabilities. A survey by The Knowledge Academy stated information and communication as one of the industries that students most worried about their future careers in, with almost one in three (28%) having concerns. 

Marketing, legal services and finance are also predicted to have the most jobs replaced by AI, whilst those working in manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare are set to have their careers the least impacted by AI.

Will AI take my job? (by industry students are looking to gain a career in) 

Industry Percentage response who don’t think their future careers are at risk of AI replacement
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 100%
Mining, energy and water supply 100%
Construction 95%
Human health & social work activities 84%
Real estate 83%
Professional, scientific & technical activities 82%
Financial & insurance activities 80%
Administrative & support services 77%
Manufacturing 77%
Accommodation & food services 73%
Wholesale, retail & repair of motor vehicles 73%
Information & communication 72%
Education 71%
Other services 69%
Public admin, defence & social security 66%
Transport & storage 65%
Survey results also show a breakdown of age, gender and location. For the complete survey findings, please view here.

Those intending to work in primary industries such as agriculture, forestry, and fishing, were the least worried about potential job loss due to AI. 100% of students interested in these careers claim to not be concerned about the rise of AI in the workplace and the potential impact it could have on their future employment prospects. 

Unconcerned students who hope to work in agriculture may be right to have no worries, as reports have found that although 60% of workers have planned to increase in AgTech budgets in the next year, however this would be used for tasks such as data collection, security and soil and water management rather than a replacement of roles.

Students hoping for a career in mining, energy and water are also 100% not worried about their future jobs being taken by AI, and whilst introducing AI can improve health and safety for these workers and replace some underground workers, the industry remains one of the least exposed to generative AI.

Construction workers (95%), social workers (84%) and those going into real estate (83%) were also relatively unconcerned about how much AI would affect their future job aspects.

Those seeking work in transport and storage were the most concerned with future AI job replacements. 

Over a third (35%) studying in this industry fear future unemployment due to AI, followed closely by those looking to work in public admin, defence and social security (30%). 

Will AI take my job? (by age and education level) 

More than three-quarters (78%) of those aged 26-40 disagree that their future job prospects are at risk from AI, making them the least worried age bracket regarding AI job replacement.

This was followed closely by the 12-17 age group – a sign that younger generations are more willing to embrace new technologies in the workplace, rather than be fearful of them.

Comparatively, nearly a third (28%) of respondents aged 41-60 believe their job prospects are at risk from AI.

Apprenticeship workers were also least worried about AI, with over four in five (81%) having no concerns over their future job prospects. 

This was followed by those in college/sixth form (78%) and key stage 4 (77%). The most worried were post-grad students, with one in three (31%) fearing their future careers at risk from AI.

Why students feel their future careers are at risk from AI

Rank Why students believe their future careers are at risk Percentage response
1 Manual jobs will be eliminated by AI 22%
2 AI will be more efficient 17%
3 AI will be cheaper in the long run than paying wages 14%
4 AI will be faster than humans at completing tasks 14%
5 AI will make fewer mistakes 10%
6 Specialist jobs will be eliminated by AI 10%
7 Key knowledge gaps will be eliminated by AI 7%
8 All jobs will be eliminated by AI 4%

The study found that the most common reason why people fear AI job replacement is the elimination of manual jobs. Around a fifth (22%) of those who believe AI is taking over jobs consider this to be the biggest factor, with technology replacing more straightforward manual tasks.

This is followed by less than one in five (17%) who believe AI will make the workplace more efficient, with 7% of respondents also believing AI will be used to eliminate key knowledge gaps.

Only one in 25 (4%) of students believe all jobs will eventually be replaced by AI.

Talveer Sandhu on behalf of The Knowledge Academy provides comment on the survey findings, and whether AI is something to be worried about for students: “AI is being leveraged by modern companies today because it’s a great addition to any business strategy, it’s accessible, and it doesn’t have to be overly complex either. That being said, any business with a good plan in place will not be using AI to replace jobs, but rather utilise it as a sidekick to assist in data-driven tasks, admin and cutting down costs.

“With the use of AI, there still needs to be oversight from human beings. For at least the foreseeable future, there are jobs and tasks that humans are uniquely qualified to do, such as those relating to deep-level thinking, problem solving, empathy, and creativity. AI will certainly struggle with those jobs that require interpersonal skills, communication, and human interaction. 

“Ultimately, AI can be used in the workplace to complete more mundane, repetitive tasks, freeing up time for employees to do what we do best – think, create, and empathise. However it is crucial nowadays to have a good understanding of AI as this will set you up for something you’re likely to adopt in your future workflow.”

Methodology

  1. The Knowledge Academy conducted a UK-based survey of 2,000 student respondents across 25 cities.
  2. Questions were asked to students, such as whether they believed their job prospects were at risk from AI. For those who answered ‘yes’, they were asked to select their top reason for this belief from a prescribed list of reasons. 
  3. An aggregation of the survey results was then compiled to calculate the percentage of respondents’ answers to each question.
  4. A series of cross tabulations were then created, broken down by age, region, gender, level of education, and what industry they are looking to gain a career in after education. 
  5. The survey was conducted in January 2024 and is accurate as of then. 

By Meghan