Half of Australian workers fear losing their jobs to robots

The SoftBank Robotics stand at the 2018 CeBIT technology trade fair in Hanover, Germany. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
  • A survey of 1000 Australians finds that half are worried how automation and technology will impact their jobs.
  • They fear the impact of technology on job security even more so than the economy.
  • Most are not ready for change.

More than half (51%) of Australian workers worry about their jobs due to the impact of technologies such artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

They fear the impact of technology on job security even more so than the state of the economy, according to research by the Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for the New Workforce in collaboration with YouGov.

Most feel they are not ready for the changes they expect over the next five years.

The survey which polled 1000 people found that almost three in five (59%) are prepared to take charge and be responsible for preparing themselves for the future of work.

They want their learning to be work relevant. “Learning on the job” was ranked as their preferred (38%) way to learn.

Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce is working alongside partners including Deloitte and LinkedIn to help organisations prepare their people to prosper in the face of digital disruption.

The Centre investigates the fundamental changes in the future of work, and develops new approaches to learning.

“New technologies are transforming work and workplaces as we know them, and this pace of change is set to accelerate further in the coming years,” says Linda Kristjanson, Swinburne Vice-Chancellor.

“As a society we must make sure we invest in our people as much as we invest in technology, to ensure we can thrive in the future of work.”

Sean Gallagher, Director of the Centre for the New Workforce, says companies tend to focus more on their technology requirements than on preparing their people.

“The future of work must foremost be about people,” says Gallagher.

“Australian workers want to take on the responsibility of their own upskilling to prepare for the future of work.

“They want their learning to be work-relevant, accessible, and integrated with work in a supportive environment.”