The bots, the bots! Brits fear AI workplace takeover

ALMOST five million Brits worry about losing their jobs to AI.

Research by Forbes Advisor found that the most “anxious” industry is the business consulting and management sector, with 45 percent of employees concerned about tech taking their role.

AI taking jobsThose in the creative, arts and design sector are also worried; 34 percent fear their imminent replacement with a bot. it’s certainly true that AI-led software, such as Midjourney, which can generate images in seconds from a simple text prompt, and Chat GPT is everywhere.

Third in the list of most fearful chunks of the workforce is the charity and voluntary sector, with a neat third in terms of percentage: 33. Those apparently untroubled include public services and administration workers, 66 percent of whom express no fear.

Rank Industry Percentage
1 Business Consulting & Management 45 percent
2 Creative Arts & Design 34 percent
3 Charity & Voluntary Work 33 percent
4 Engineering & Manufacturing 30 percent
5= Information Technology 29 percent
5= Transport & Logistics 29 percent

Source: Forbes Advisor UK

Being replaced by robots isn’t the only concern for working Brits: 38 percent struggle staying up-to-date with tech updates, and 18 percent worry that their inability to keep up could see them out of a job.

The humble spreadsheet still gets the better of many workers. An inability to use Microsoft Excel ranked chief among software issues — for 17 percent. That’s nearly three times the number struggling with AI (six percent). Other simple things many Brits have trouble with include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, and “the internet” generally (all 15 percent).

And many are too proud to ask for help, with 38 percent admitting that foible. Women (44 percent) are more likely than men (33 percent) to power through without assistance.

Those who do reach out seem to have trouble with Microsoft Excel (14 percent), Gmail (10 percent), Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, the internet, and office printers (all nine percent).

Despite Excel apparently causing more trouble than benefit, many still believe that AI will impact their career prospects. Almost a quarter expect to be out of a job as their role is automated.

Kevin Pratt, business expert at Forbes Advisor, said AI would change the world of work, “we just don’t know yet what the change will look like”.

“All we can do,” he said, “is to prepare and adapt … For businesses, this means monitoring how tech is evolving and devoting time and resource to training staff.”