What U.S. Employees Really Think About Automation

06/26/2017 |

It's an even split, 50/50, on whether or not automation will be a good or a bad thing for the future workplace

Robots are already taking over American jobs.

The fast food industry is using automation through the use of smartphones and tablets. With just a touch of an iPad and a swipe of your Visa, you can get a Big Mac without making any contact with a human employee.

Factories have long been using mechanical robots to sort parts and ensure products are being built correctly for the end-user, all without an entire team of supervisors,

Even white collar jobs are in jeopardy. Studies have found that among the top jobs being taken by automation, loan officers rank among the top. The fate of potential home-buyers looking for a loan is now being determined largely by computers and tried-and-true algorithms. Computers are also being used to fast-track research, scanning legal documents for lawyers in place of paralegals and legal assistants. 

As for the public's reaction, the American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor® survey shows that the opinions on automated technologies are polarized. About equal percentages of respondents say that automation in the workplace will be a good or a bad thing for the future world of work.

“Automation is revolutionizing the who, what, where, and how people will work in the future,” says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president, and chief executive officer. “The ASA Workforce Monitor found that nearly nine out of 10 (87%) Americans believe that to succeed in this new world of work, additional training will be needed.”

About one-third (34%) of Americans say automation will be a positive development for the workforce in the next 10 years or more—compared with 31% who say it will be negative: 35% are neutral on the matter or just don’t know.

In more pragmatic terms as it applies to analyzing the U.S. workplace at large, more than four in five Americans think that increased automation will revolutionize work (83%) and that this transformation is inevitable (82%). A substantial majority think that automation will fundamentally change the quantity (79%) and types (68%) of jobs available in the U.S. Seven in 10 (72%) say its increased use will lead to higher unemployment.

People generally do not fear that automation will take their jobs from them. Nearly three quarters (73%) do not believe that their work can be easily replaced by robots or artificial intelligence, and 85% agree that the human factor outweighs any benefits from mechanizing their job. 

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