23+ Artificial Intelligence And Job Loss Statistics [2021]

By Chris Kolmar - Oct. 12, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

Research Summary. Artificial intelligence and job loss statistics indicate that the worldwide economy could lose hundreds of millions of positions to AI over the coming decades, especially in industries where soft skills aren’t a meaningful part of the job description.

After extensive research, our data analysis team concluded:

  • About half of all companies currently utilize AI in some fashion.

  • While there’s no agreed-upon research methodology or expected economic impacts, AI could take the jobs of as many as one billion people globally and make 375 million jobs obsolete over the next decade.

  • Newer, better-paying jobs likely won’t replace those lost, so without widespread retraining and reskilling, ordinary people will have significant difficulty finding new work.

  • These transitions could be as challenging as the U.S.’s shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing.

  • It’s not all bad news: artificial intelligence could create 58 million jobs and generate $15.7 trillion for the economy by 2030 while eliminating mundane tasks and helping workers enjoy more creativity.

Half of all US companies currently utilize artificial intelligence 
in some way

  • Elon Musk predicts that “computers, intelligent machines, and robots seem like the workforce of the future.”

    “And as more and more jobs are replaced by technology,” he says, “people will have less work to do and ultimately will be sustained by payments from the government.”

    This means the U.S. would need to strengthen the adequacy and duration of its social safety net, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and so forth.

  • Currently, half of the companies have AI embedded into their business on some level.

    This is perhaps why 27% of employees have anxiety over the possibility of new innovations, robots, or artificial intelligence making their jobs obsolete in the next five years. Or, why 49% believe people have lost their jobs to AI as organizations look to technology for budget cuts and staff reduction.

  • By 2030, 45 million Americans could lose their jobs to AI automation, representing about one-quarter of the workforce.

    This is an increase from a 2017 estimate that signaled 39 million Americans would be automated out of their work.

    Worldwide, a billion people could lose their jobs over the next ten years due to AI, and 375 million jobs are at risk of obsolescence from AI automation.

    With this said, it’s important to emphasize there is no shared agreement on the expected impacts on the workforce or economy.

    For example, depending on variations in research methodology (e.g., the entire occupation is automated or just a specific task), anywhere between 9% and 47% of jobs will be displaced by artificial intelligence.

  • Outside of potential job loss, artificial intelligence could deliver several crucial benefits.

    19% of workers agree that AI can help alleviate the drudgery of their jobs, and nine out of ten tech executives agree that AI-powered machines will handle mundane tasks, thereby freeing up workers to enjoy more creative work.

    Furthermore, AI can help eliminate work-related tedium and allow humans to explore careers that deliver a greater sense of meaning and well-being.

    Economy-wise, by 2022, AI will create 58 million jobs, and by 2030, it’s forecast to impact the economy to the tune of $15.7 trillion.

  • In the past, technological change has eliminated specific jobs, but it has always created more in the process.

    Companies deploying automation and AI say the technology allows them to create new jobs. However, the number of new jobs is often minuscule compared with the number of jobs lost.

  • Because of AI’s impact on jobs, more than 120 million workers around the globe will need retraining and up-skilling in the next three years.

    Businesses must determine the skills their employees need and then provide relevant training. School systems should also support STEM curricula that help students learn diverse skills they’ll need to thrive.

  • In many countries, most of those polled said that robots and computers would “definitely” or “probably” do much of the work currently done by humans.

    For example:

    • Greece: 91%

    • Japan: 89%

    • Canada: 84%

    • Argentina: 82%

    • Poland: 79%

    • Brazil: 79%

    • South Africa: 73%

    • Italy: 73%

    • Hungary: 66%

    • United States: 65%

  • Overall, half of the adults say that in the next 50 years, robots and computers will do much of the work currently done by humans.

    The responses were distributed as follows:

    • Definitely: 15%

    • Probably: 50%

    • Probably not: 25%

    • Definitely not: 7%

    Of those who believe it will happen, a large majority said jobs lost to automation would not be replaced by “new, better-paying jobs,” and it will be difficult for ordinary people to find jobs.

  • However, more than one-third of workers say the jobs/professions they work in now will definitely exist in 50 years.

    Responses were spread as follows:

    • Definitely: 36%

    • Probably: 44%

    • Probably not: 12%

    • Definitely not: 6%

  • 35% of 18- to 49-year-olds think it unlikely that robots and computers will do much of the work done by humans.

    This number changes depending on the group tallied. For example:

    Group % Who Think It’s Unlikely that Robots and Computers Will Do Much of the Work Done by Humans
    Ages 18-49 35%
    Ages 50+ 27%
    College degree 37%
    No college 28%
    $75,000+ annual income 38%
    lt; $30,000 annual income 27%
  • 7% of Americans who work in the government, education, or non-profit sectors expect that robots and computers will definitely take over most human employment in the next 50 years.

    This number jumps to 13% of those who work for a large corporation, small business, or medium-sized company.

  • 84% of workers ages 18 to 29 expect that their current jobs will exist 50 years in the future, compared with 76% of workers ages 50 and older.

    Here’s another breakdown of each group who think their current jobs will exist in 50 years:

    Definitely exist Probably exist NET
    All full-or part-time workers 36% 44% 80%
    Place of work Large corporation 32 46 79
    Small/medium business 36 43 79
    Government, education, non-profit 42 44 86
    Type of work Mostly involves manual labor 41 41 82
    Professional 34 48 82
    Manager or executive 23 50 73
    Admin, clerical, customer service 29 45 74
  • AI could affect virtually every occupational group.

    However, AI could significantly impact those in agriculture, engineering, science, production, transportation, legal, and administrative industries — tasks that require planning, learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and prediction.

    Overall, physical activities are most susceptible to AI automation, as are data collection and processing. On the other hand, AI will have a lesser effect on jobs that involve managing people, applying expertise, and interacting socially.

  • Not all jobs are equally at risk when it comes to AI automation.

    Here are 12 jobs that AI robots will likely replace in the future:

    • Customer service executives;

    • Bookkeeping and data entry;

    • Receptionists;

    • Proofreading;

    • Manufacturing and pharmaceutical work;

    • Retail services;

    • Courier services;

    • Doctors;

    • Soldiers;

    • Taxi and bus drivers;

    • Market research analysts;

    • Security guards.

    As technology reduces the cost of some tasks, the value of remaining tasks increases, particularly soft skills such as creativity, common sense, judgment, and communication skills.

  • On the other hand, here are 12 jobs that AI isn’t likely to replace:

    • Human resource managers;

    • Writers;

    • Lawyers;

    • Chief executives;

    • Scientists;

    • Clergy members;

    • Psychiatrists;

    • Event planners;

    • Graphic designers;

    • Public relations managers;

    • Software developers;

    • Project managers.

  • Consequently, manual labor workers are more concerned about losing their jobs to machines or computers.

    17% of workers whose job mainly involves manual labor are very/somewhat concerned about losing their current jobs to machines or computers, which drops to 5% of those whose job does not involve manual labor.

  • There’s an important distinction between individual tasks that can be automated using AI versus entire jobs.

    At least one-third of activities could be automated in 60% of occupations, although less than 5% could be fully automated.

  • Automation and AI will lift productivity and economic growth, but millions of people worldwide may need to switch occupations or upgrade skills.

    Between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world. And as many as 375 million may need to switch occupational categories — some of which have not existed before — and learn new skills.

    If displaced workers are reemployed within one year, it could lift the overall economy. However, if it takes workers years to find work, unemployment could rise, and the economy could dip.

    Either way, some predict that these transitions will be as challenging as the U.S.’s shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing.

  • The U.S. is predicted to have a lower proportion of the workforce impacted significantly by technological advances over the coming decades than many European Union countries.

    In the U.S., about 47% of total employment is at risk of computerization, and workers have a high probability of seeing their jobs automated over the next 20 years. EU numbers are as follows:

    • Austria: 54.10%

    • Bulgaria: 56.56%

    • Croatia: 57.91%

    • Czech Republic: 53.65%

    • Estonia: 53.94%

    • Finland: 51.13%

    • France: 49.54%

    • Greece: 56.47%

    • Hungary: 55.34%

    • Ireland: 48.51%

    • Italy: 56.18%

    • Latvia: 51.08%

    • Lithuania: 51.85%

    • Poland: 56.29%

    • Portugal: 58.94%

    • Romania: 61.93%

    • Slovakia: 54.70%

    • Spain: 55.32%

    • Sweden: 46.69%

    • United Kingdom: 47.17%

Are you looking for job opportunities?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Artificial Intelligence and Job Loss FAQ

How can artificial intelligence lead to job loss?

Artificial intelligence can lead to job loss by simulating human intelligence processes and performing many mundane tasks currently handled by workers but at much faster rates and lower operating costs.

Which jobs are most at risk of being automated by artificial intelligence?

The jobs most at risk of being automated by artificial intelligence include those that involve manual labor or redundant tasks. Examples include bookkeeping, proofreading, retail and courier services, security guards, and even doctors.

Which jobs are least likely to be automated by artificial intelligence?

Jobs least likely to be automated by artificial intelligence utilize soft skills like creativity, common sense, judgment, and communication. Examples include writers, lawyers, scientists, graphic designers, and software developers.

Build a professional resume in minutes.

Our AI resume builder helps you write a compelling and relevant resume for the jobs you want.

Conclusion

While the numbers vary depending on research methodologies and other factors, artificial intelligence seems poised to disrupt employment across various industries over the next few decades. The good news is that the global economy could limit job losses caused by machine learning and AI with widespread retraining and upskilling.

Sources

  1. Time. Millions of Americans Have Lost Jobs in the Pandemic—And Robots and AI Are Replacing Them Faster Than Ever. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  2. Forbes. U.S. Lost Over 60 Million Jobs—Now Robots, Tech And Artificial Intelligence Will Take Millions More. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  3. American Action Forum. Understanding Job Loss Predictions From Artificial Intelligence. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  4. The Washington Post. People around the world think that robots will soon take most human jobs — and that people will suffer. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  5. Pew Research Center. Public Predictions for the Future of Workforce Automation. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  6. McKinsey and Company. Jobs lost, jobs gained: What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  7. Bruegel. Chart of the Week: 54% of EU jobs at risk of computerinon-profitsation. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  8. Oxford University. The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation? Accessed on 9/16/21.

  9. IoT for All. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence – Widespread Job Losses. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  10. University of Saint Thomas. Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on Jobs. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  11. Slate. Do Not Be Alarmed by Wild Predictions of Robots Taking Everyone’s Jobs. Accessed on 9/16/21.

  12. CNBC. This is the industry sector that has some of the happiest workers in America. Accessed on 9/17/21.

  13. Blumberg Capital. Artificial Intelligence In 2019: Getting Past The Adoption Tipping Point. Accessed on 9/17/21.

  14. Harvard Business Review. The Question with AI Isn’t Whether We’ll Lose Our Jobs — It’s How Much We’ll Get Paid. Accessed on 9/17/21.

  15. The Brookings Institute. What jobs are affected by AI? Accessed on 9/17/21.

  16. Saviom. 12 jobs that robots (AI) will replace in the future, and 12 that won’t. Accessed on 9/17/21.

  17. TechJury. 19 Statistics About Jobs Lost to Automation and The Future of Employment in 2021. Accessed on 9/17/21.

  18. Fortunly. Automation and Job nonprofitLoss Statistics in 2020 – The Robots Are Coming. Accessed on 9/17/21.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

Find The Best Job That Fits Your Career

Major Survey Entry Point Icon

Where do you want to work?

Related posts