Tech Sector Workers Fearful of Losing Jobs to AI Automation

A KPMG report revealed that 67 percent of tech sector employees fear losing their jobs to automation and 70 percent worry their jobs will be eliminated due to the economic downturn. In other industries, only 44 percent of workers are concerned about losing their jobs to automation and 57 percent worry their jobs will disappear. Conducted in April, the survey queried 1,000 full-time/part-time workers, of whom 223 were in the tech sector. Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey stated that, in the future, AI will write its own software.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to KPMG tech-industry practice leader Tim Zanni, “technology workers’ fears could be a harbinger for the broader labor market in the aftermath of the pandemic, as tech company trends often spread across the corporate world over time.” Zanni noted that, “workers at technology firms see emerging digital capabilities in early stages of development and are more likely to be thinking of the impact of these tools on their jobs.”

CompTIA analyzed Labor Department data and found that, “U.S. technology firms shed a record 112,000 jobs in April, erasing total job gains over the past year.” The U.S. currently employs about 6 million technology sector workers, accounting for “an estimated 4 percent of the total U.S. workforce.”

Still, International Data Corp. stated that, “AI jobs globally could increase by as much as 16 percent this year, reaching more than 950,000.” It also estimated that “40 percent of companies worldwide are increasing their use of automation as a response to the pandemic.” Robotic process automation maker UiPath chief executive Daniel Dines said, “we believe that hyper automation is where the market is headed.”

CNBC reports that Twitter and Square chief executive Dorsey said that, “the rise of artificial intelligence will make even software engineers less sought after.” “AI,” he said, “is even coming for programming” jobs, wiping out “a lot of entry-level programming jobs.”

According to Glassdoor, software engineer is the seventh best job in the country this year, with “a median base salary of $105,563.” The Brookings Institution also “ranked professions by their relative exposure to artificial intelligence, and computer programmers were the third most exposed occupation listed.”

Deloitte reports that, “artificial intelligence is making the process of designing, developing, and deploying software faster, better, and cheaper.” Rather than replace programmers, it says, “AI-powered tools are making project managers, business analysts, software coders, and testers more productive and more effective, enabling them to produce higher-quality software faster at lower cost.”

It notes that, “large and small software vendors have launched dozens of AI-powered software development tools over the last 18 months,” adding that, although “developing and deploying custom software is a critical element of how many companies innovate … major challenges plague software development efforts … [due to] a chronic shortage of talented developers.”

“The application of AI in the software development process promises to mitigate some of these problems,” concludes Deloitte.