Australians fear robots will replace more of their jobs

Australians fear robots will replace more of their jobs

Up to 16 per cent of Australians believe their current role will be made redundant by a robot in the next five years, according to Airtasker’s latest Future of Work study.

A study by research firm Pureprofile, which polled a representative sample of 1,003 Australians, also found that 71 per cent of the population believe the rise of the machines will replace more jobs than they create.

The data underscores the disparity around the fear of automation and actual job growth. ABS data (2006, 2016) shows that despite the rise of various efficiency driving technologies over the past decade, total jobs have continued to grow.

Meanwhile, almost one in ten Australians indicated that they are leveraging the Sharing Economy to earn extra income. The number of Australians indicating this nearly doubled from the result seen in Airtasker’s 2016 Future of Work study.

“There seems to be some fear in Australia around machines replacing jobs, and this is the first study that quantifies it,” Airtasker CEO Tim Fung said.

“There’s no doubt that digital disruption is displacing some jobs, but Airtasker’s experience is that technology is absolutely creating new industries and jobs that we haven’t seen before.”

“We think there’s some work to be done to increase awareness of the new job opportunities and industries being created through technology platforms, including the sharing economy.”

“We should also be doing more to measure the new types of jobs being created as technology fundamentally changes the way we work.”

The study also revealed:

  • Around 40 per cent of Australians see human interaction to be the main factor that will prevent more roles from being automated.
  • Flexibility and pay remain the most important aspects of a job for all Australian workers. For three years, “flexibility of work” has beat out “predictability of work” as the most appealing aspect of modern work.
  • Those aged between 25 and 34 are the most concerned that their job will be made obsolete by automation within the next five years. However, the same age group is also the most hopeful that machines will create new industries and more jobs than they replace.
  • Of all industries, those working in education are the most optimistic that machines will create more jobs than they replace.
  • In the three years of the study, more Australians than ever before (87.8 per cent) are looking for more opportunities to earn extra income in 2017. This figure is up 7.9 per cent from 2016’s Future of Work study.
  • Up to 85% of those surveyed working in hospitality or construction say they will leverage the sharing economy to earn extra income in 2017.

Sharing economy use and awareness on the rise

As part of the ongoing study, Airtasker has measured the growth and use of the sharing economy trend. In this study, it found:

  • The majority (67 per cent) are now aware of the sharing economy and its platforms. In 2016, less than half (49.2 per cent) were aware of them.
  • The percentage of Australians saying they use the sharing economy to earn extra money rose by roughly half, from 6.1 per cent in 2016 to 9.7 per cent.
  • The number of Australians using the sharing economy also increased from 26 per cent in 2016 to 28.8 per cent in 2017.

The full data set and further data can be found on Airtasker’s Future of Work website.

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