UK workers are least afraid of being replaced by AI

A cartoon of two workers holding cardboard boxes containing their possessions being shown the door by their boss having been made redundant by a robot worker, who now sits at their desk.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

UK workers are the least afraid of being replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) compared to other workers in major global markets.

This is according to new research from enterprise application specialist IFS, which surveyed over 7,200 workers in the UK, US, France, Germany, the Nordics, and Australia.

The study found that only a quarter (25%) of UK professionals were concerned about losing their job to AI in the next five years.

This was below the global average of 40%, and significantly lower than results from the US, where almost two-thirds (62%) of the surveyed workers believed their role to be at risk of automation.

However, the majority of US respondents suggested AI would result in larger workforces: only a quarter (25%) expect AI to lead to a decrease in the overall headcount in the office, compared to the one in two (50%) German professionals who said the same.

Commenting on the results of the survey, IFS AI and Automation VP Bob De Caux said that AI “has the potential to supercharge efficiencies, automate laborious tasks and improve decision-making”.

“But as our findings show, fears that workers will lose out to the technology remains high in a number of markets, which could delay adoption,” he added. “And with many businesses implementing AI without a clear understanding of what they want it to achieve, it’s hardly surprising that workers may not be aware of the advantages the technology can bring.”


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De Caux advised companies looking to derive value from AI to “first have a complete view of the enterprise and architect their businesses around delivering the all-important end result – the moment of service”.

“Only through this approach will they be able to truly understand what they want to achieve by implementing AI, and know where AI will be most effective,” he said.

IFS’ findings come two months after Gartner found that a third (33%) of technology providers were planning to invest at least $1 million in AI within the next two years.

According to Gartner’s managing VP Errol Rasit, “rapidly evolving, diverse AI technologies will impact every industry”.

“Technology organisations are increasing investments in AI as they recognise its potential to not only assess critical data and improve business efficiency, but also to create new products and services, expand their customer base and generate new revenue,” he said.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.