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TECH TAKEOVER: ALMOST 5 MILLION BRITS FEAR AI AND TECH ADVANCEMENTS WILL PUT THEIR JOBS AT RISK 

ByAdam Myles

Dec 20, 2023
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TECH TAKEOVER: ALMOST 5 MILLION BRITS FEAR AI AND TECH ADVANCEMENTS WILL PUT THEIR JOBS AT RISK

  • 14% of the UK workforce worry they could lose their job soon due to technological advancements – the equivalent of 4.6[1] million Brits 
  • This figure rises to 45% of those working in the Business Consulting & Management sector, such as business advisors[2] 
  • Nearly a fifth (18%) are concerned that their lack of tech skills is making them fall behind at work
  • Brits are still more likely to struggle with using Microsoft Excel (17%) than AI (6%) at work
  • But almost a quarter (23%) think AI will eventually mean no one will need to work.

Almost 5 million[1] working Brits (14%) worry about the risks posed to their employment by AI and other tech innovations, according to new research by Forbes Advisor.

Data shows the most anxious industry is the Business Consulting & Management sector[2], with close to half (45%) of employees concerned about tech taking over their jobs.

Those in the Creative Arts & Design sector are also concerned, as over a third fear being replaced by tech (34%). Workers’ worries within this sector could be attributed to the rise of AI-led creative software, such as Midjourney, which can generate images in seconds from a simple text prompt.

Rounding off the top three most fearful sectors is Charity & Voluntary (33%).

In stark contrast, two-thirds (66%) of those in Public Services & Administration do not fear technology putting them out of work in the near future.

Industries most concerned that AI and tech will take over their jobs
Rank Industry Percentage
1 Business Consulting & Management 45%
2 Creative Arts & Design 34%
3 Charity & Voluntary Work 33%
4 Engineering &
Manufacturing
30%
=5 Information Technology 29%
=5 Transport & Logistics 29%

Source: Forbes Advisor

Being replaced by robots isn’t working Brits’ only career concern. Nearly two-fifths (38%) are having to constantly learn how to make use of new technologies at work, with almost a fifth of the workforce (18%) worried that their inability to keep up with the required tech is causing them to fall behind their peers.

Over one in 10 (11%) admit a lack of tech savviness means they cannot perform effectively – a statement echoed most commonly by Business Consulting & Management workers (36%).

Despite recent AI advancements, the humble spreadsheet still gets the better of many workers. An inability to use Microsoft Excel ranked chief among softwares issues (17%) – nearly three times the number of British workers struggling with AI (6%). Other technologies Brits have trouble with include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook and ‘the internet’ (all 15%).

However, when it comes to the tech knowledge gap, many employees are too proud to ask for help, with 38% admitting they are too stubborn to seek advice. Women (44%) are more likely than men (33%) to power through without assistance.

For those plucking up the courage to reach out for help, workers get help with Microsoft Excel (14%) the most. This is followed by Gmail (10%), Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, the internet, and office printers (all 9% respectively).

Despite Excel currently causing more trouble for Brits carrying out tasks at work, many still believe that AI will impact their future career prospects far more. Almost a quarter (23%) expect they’ll be put out of the job as their role is automated or machine-learning takes over.

Kevin Pratt, business expert at Forbes Advisor commented: “Artificial intelligence won’t just change the world of work, it will change the world itself. We just don’t know yet what the change will look like. All we can do is prepare and adapt wherever possible. That involves embracing change and securing whatever positive developments come along over the next few years.

“For businesses, this means monitoring how tech is evolving and devoting time and resource to training staff to harness its benefits. And staff themselves must recognise that they need to get to grips with existing and future technology if they are to continue to have a secure footing in the fast-evolving work environment.

“Fortunately, many technological applications are becoming simpler and more intuitive, but getting the most out of them requires the correct mindset, with a willingness to learn and to seek help – rather than attempt to muddle through – being at the forefront.

“In five years from now, people may be doing jobs that don’t currently exist. Whole sectors may have sprung up on the back of technological advances, just as happened in the years following the birth of the internet. It is those who prepare and anticipate who will benefit the most from the inevitable change that lies ahead.”