Top web searches reveal workers’ fears over job-stealing robots are decreasing

Compared to last year, UK employees are more at ease with the idea of being replaced by technology

Top web searches reveal workers’ fears over job-stealing robots are decreasing

Since the dawn of machines in manufacturing there have been anxieties over tie-wielding terminators ending careers. However, it seems as if the panic waning as fewer workers search online about the risk of robots stealing their jobs.

Targeting the keywords “work” and “robot” in online searches, Perkbox, the employee benefits platform and SEMrush, the online marketing suite, found the query “will robots take my job?” reached 57,833 monthly hits this year, a sharp decline from 197,800 in 2017. That being said, it’s still higher than the 1,600 searches in 2016. Moreover, the question “what jobs will be replaced by robots?” reaped only 200 monthly searches in 2016, which rose to 2,400 last year and settled at 1,500 in 2018.

The researchers also looked at the slightly more apocalyptic search term “can robots replace humans?” They found that the number of entries about this this term has fallen consistently from 2,499 in 2016 to 1,700 in 2017. Today, that number rests comfortably at 1,479 monthly hits. 

There also seems to be a rise of worries in the automotive industry about automation terminating jobs, given the term “how has robotics changed manufacturing technology in the automotive industry?” saw hardly any monthly visits in 2016 but suddenly reached 800 in 2017 and 833 today.

Comparatively, it seems as if the finance sector is coming to terms with AI helping them run the show. For instance, the phrase “do forex robots really work?” was searched 1,000 times on average in 2015 before jumping by 20% in 2016. The popularity of this question has since dropped first  back to 1,000 in 2017 and has then plummeted to 83 searches on average between January and June of this year. 

Commenting on the findings Olga Andrienko, head of global marketing at SEMrush, said: “Search can be an excellent indicator for what is concerning employees across a variety of industries. The search volumes show that people are indeed concerned by the effects of automation on their workplace, so this may be a topic for HR departments to actively address. All companies need to take note and pull out learnings from Google search.”

Being replaced by machines is a concern Brits are keeping their eyes on but with seemingly less trepidation. 

Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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