Only one third of workers expect their job to be automated

Ipsos' survey for the World Economic Forum finds most employed adults across the world trust they have the skills needed to weather automation.

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
  • Rachel Martin Public Affairs, US
Get in touch

Davos, January 23, 2020 — Just 35% of workers across 28 countries anticipate that their job will be automated in the next 10 years, according to a new Ipsos' survey on behalf of the World Economic Forum. In contrast, more than half of employed adults (54%) say it is unlikely to happen. The other 11% are not sure.

Globally, 69% of workers surveyed are confident they have the skills needed so their job continues to exist in the future: 29% are very confident and 40% are somewhat confident. Only one quarter (24%) are not confident while 7% are unsure.

Paradoxically, business owners (47%), decision-makers (45%) and workers with a higher level of education (36%) are more likely to expect their job to be automated than are those who are not business owners (30%), not decision-makers (29%), or do not have a higher education (32%). Nevertheless, business owners (77%), decision-makers (78%) and those with a higher level of education (76%) are even more likely to be confident that they have the skills needed for their job to survive automation than are workers who are not business owners (67%), not decision-makers (66%), and do not have a higher level of education (66%).

With few exceptions, employed adults in emerging markets are far more likely to expect their job to be automated than are those from advanced economies.

  • Countries where workers are most likely to anticipate that their job will be automated in the next decade are: India (71%), Saudi Arabia (56%), China (55%), Brazil (51%), and Mexico (50%).
  • In contrast, in five European countries fewer than one in five workers surveyed say it is likely: Germany (14%), Hungary (14%), The Netherlands (16%), Great Britain (17%). and France (19%).

Confidence in having the skills needed so one’s job continues to exist in the future tends to be higher than average in emerging markets generally, as well as in North America and Northern Europe while it tends to be lower in Northeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Southern Europe.

  • It is highest in: India (84%), The Netherlands (83%), The United States (82%), Turkey (81%), Mexico (81%) and South Africa (80%).
  • It is significantly lower in: Japan (23%), South Korea (33%), Russia (51%) and Poland (51%).
These are the results of an Ipsos' survey conducted on the Global Advisor online platform among 13,751 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16-74 in 23 other countries. The survey was fielded between September 20 and October 4, 2019, except for South Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, and Singapore, where it was fielded between October 25 and November 8, 2019.
The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Hungary, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Turkey.
The samples in Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of these populations.
The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.
The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 4.8 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
  • Rachel Martin Public Affairs, US

Society