As technology and society continue to integrate artificial intelligence (AI), nearly three-quarters of American adults (74%) fear higher unemployment is on the horizon as a result, according to the latest American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor® online survey conducted by The Harris Poll.
With the launch of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools in recent months, millions of Americans are taking advantage of the ways automation can enhance daily tasks—particularly in the workplace. But excitement around new AI technology also brings the fear that further advancements in automation could threaten or alter future employment.
Seventy-four percent of Americans believe increased automation will lead to higher unemployment by taking jobs away from humans. The survey also found that nearly half (47%) of all employed Americans feel automation could easily replace their jobs, with revealing disparities based on industry alignment:
- 56% in the industrial sector
- 51% in engineering/IT/scientific
- 48% in office–clerical/administrative
- 44% in professional–managerial
- 39% in health care
These findings are in sharp contrast with a 2017 ASA Workforce Monitor survey, which found that 73% of employed Americans did not believe their work could easily be replaced by robots or AI.
Overall, employed Americans are split on whether increased automation programs in the workplace will ultimately help or hurt their careers in the future, with 27% saying the technology will help and 26% saying it will disrupt.
“Workers are trying to figure out what the rise of artificial intelligence means for their careers,” said Richard Wahlquist, chief executive officer at the American Staffing Association. “Employers must take responsibility for helping their workforce navigate and evolve to meet rapid changes in the economy through training and upskilling. Further, it’s imperative that organizations communicate with employees as new AI technology is deployed to set expectations and provide transparency.”
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of ASA from June 20–22, 2023, among a total of 2,037 U.S. adults age 18 and older, of whom 1,225 were employed. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval of +/-2.7%.