According to new research from employee benefits platform Perkbox and online marketers SEMrush in just one year between 2015 and 2016, the phrase “will robots take my job?” increased from zero to 1,600 average monthly online searches in the UK.
In 2017 the phrase was searched 197,800 times monthly with nearly 60,000 searches already being racked up in 2018.
Employees are increasingly asking what kind of jobs are likely to be replaced by robots and if robots can replace humans. These workers tend to be mainly in the automotive manufacturing industry as well as banking and finance.
The findings build on previous reports looking at the rise of robots and artificial intelligence and what this means for employment.
Last year PwC stated that 30% of existing roles in the UK could be automated by 2030. Sectors most at risk were waste management, transportation and manufacturing.
“There’s certainly no shortage of headlines about the threats new technologies are posing to our once established jobs and workplaces. The findings of this research show that a lot of what we fear is real,” said Chieu Cao, co-founder and CMO at Perkbox. “However, I’m a strong believer that regardless of how much technology advances, a clear rational decision-making process will always be indispensable in the workplace. At Perkbox we like to see technology as an enabler of human connections it’s key, but it shouldn’t replace the core human side of things. The fear of the unknown is only natural, we just need to learn to embrace it”.
Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush adds: “Search can be an excellent indicator for what is concerning employees across a variety of industries. The search volumes show that people are indeed concerned by the effects of automation on their workplace, so this may be a topic for HR departments to actively address. All companies need to take note and pull out learnings from Google search.”
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