Tech workers fear jobs will be automated in response to coronavirus

AI on a screen with other words
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With unemployment on the rise, tech workers are reportedly concerned about the future of their jobs. According to a survey conducted by the KPMG International Cooperative, as employers continue to cope with the impact of the pandemic, those in the tech sector fear they will be replaced by automation.

According to KPMG’s report, an estimated 67% of employees at U.S. tech companies harbor concerns about losing their jobs to tools powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic software, this in comparison to 44% of workers at companies not within the tech sector. Of those surveyed, 70% of tech-sector workers also worried that their jobs would be eliminated due to the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, compared to 57% of workers in other industries.

KPMG’s study surveyed 1,000 full- and part-time workers across multiple industries. According to the group, this number included 223 tech workers.

KPMG tech-industry practice leader Tim Zanni shared his thoughts on the report with The Wall Street Journal, explaining, “Workers in the tech industry are closer to the technology and thus have a unique understanding, more so than other industries, of technology and its capabilities.”

Zanni continued, explaining that tech workers are often the first to witness emerging capabilities and, as a result, are more likely to think about how such tools could impact their jobs.

While tech companies in the U.S. eliminated an astonishing 112,000 jobs in April, some tech sectors have been more resilient.

Per WSJ, the International Data Corporation says AI jobs could see up to a 16% increase worldwide in 2020. The IDC attributes this uptick in AI jobs to a need for AI capabilities as companies deal with the aftermath of the coronavirus.

“The focus of the next several months will be in driving out inefficiency and speeding up operations through the use of automation,” Maureen Fleming, program vice president for intelligent process automation in IDC’s market research and advisory group, told WSJ.