Here’s how Americans feel about robots taking their jobs

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Automation is here and it’s going to accelerate, but many workers aren’t ready for the new reality.

Americans have decidedly mixed attitudes about the possibility of automation and robots taking jobs. Most job seekers (77%) have heard the term “job automation” but only 30% say they understand the term, according to ZipRecruiters’s State of the American Job Seeker report.

The data shows that job seekers are a bit confused. For example, 60% of job seekers believe that fears around robots taking away jobs are over-hyped, but nearly 2 in 3 job seekers (64%) believe workers in most industries will be replaced with computers or robots in their lifetime.

It also appears that the more job seekers know about automation, the more it worries them. Of those looking for a job who heard of automation, 70% say they are looking for jobs that are less likely to be automated.

Are fears justified?

“Automation is changing the way we work, and emerging artificial intelligence technologies will in some way affect the careers of workers in almost every industry,” said Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter CEO in a press release.

Change, however, does not mean that there won’t be jobs. Forecasts of the impact vary widely with some analysts predicting huge decreases in available jobs and others suggesting that technology has historically changed the job market, not eliminated the need for workers. What’s very clear, according to the ZipRecruiter report, as well as the related studies it cites, is that the skills needed to get a job are changing and will continue to change.

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