Rise of the robots will damage job prospects say youngsters

Increased use of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence in businesses will lead to less jobs with two thirds of youngsters saying they uncomfortable with machines occupying a large portion of the workforce according to new research from Young Enterprise

by the commentator on 5 July 2017 21:11

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Over two thirds of student entrepreneurs say they are concerned about robots playing a significant role in the workforce, according to a major new report from Young Enterprise which examines the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the youth job market supported with polling from 200 young entrepreneurs. 

When asked about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace, 76 per cent of youngsters said they believed fewer jobs would be available due to the use of machines in the workplace. Only 10 per cent said this trend would lead to more jobs and a mere 14 per cent said there would be no noticeable change.

“The rise of the robots will have a devastating impact on job prospects for young people who have not been equipped with basic work skills. It’s time to wake up and recognise education must extend beyond academia and properly prepare the next generation for the world of work with skills like communication, teamwork and creativity,” said Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive, Young Enterprise.

When asked about the role of robots in the workplace, nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) said they were ‘concerned’ at the prospect of machines occupying a large percentage of the workforce. 35 per cent said they were neutral, and only 18 per cent felt comfortable.

Students also feel that the rise of the robots will impact the ability of young people to secure jobs, with 59 per cent of respondents saying that they thought it would be harder to get a job that a robot could also do, due to a lack of basic core skills like team work and problem solving.

When asked if they would accept a job working for a robot 45 per cent said yes whereas 55 per cent said no, demonstrating a stark divide of opinion.

33 per cent said that they thought the rise of robot workers would encourage students leaving education to get more ready for work, ensuring that they left school with more relevant workplace skills. Only 8 per cent said they anticipated there being no change.

Jeff Archambault, Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company EMEA said, “Creativity will always require the human touch and state-of-the-art technologies can deliver new, unexpected experiences. That’s why it’s important that the next generation is supported to be at ease with both exploring robotics and artificial intelligence as well as creativity to help inspire new ways of working in an ever changing world.”

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