Some 22% of U.S. workers told Gallup pollsters they feared being replaced in their jobs by technology, up from 15% two years ago. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 11 (UPI) -- While the great majority of U.S. workers do not fear being replaced by technology, the percentage of those who do is rising at its fastest rate ever, according to a Gallup Poll released Monday.
While only 22% of workers are worried that technology will be used to replace them, that's up from 15% in 2021 when the same question was asked -- a jump of 7 percentage points, the polling organization reported.
That's the sharpest two-year increase seen since Gallup began asking the question in 2017. Previous polls had found the rate holding steady at between 13% and 17%.
Breaking down the results further, Gallup found that the jump in "fear of becoming obsolete," otherwise known as FOBO, came almost entirely from college-educated workers, among whom the percentage worried has soared from 8% to 20%. FOBO among without college educations, meanwhile, remained virtually unchanged at 24% since 2021.
"As a result, whereas non-college-educated workers were previously much more concerned about technological replacement than college-educated workers, these groups now express similar levels of concern," the pollster said.
Gaps between younger and older workers, as well as between those making less than $100,000 and those earning $100,000 or more, also continued to widen.
FOBO increased just 2 percentage points among workers over 55 years of age while jumping 11 points among those between 18 and 34. Meanwhile, workers making less than $100,000 recorded a 10-point surge in obsolescence fears, while those making more than $100,000 saw a 5-point rise.
The poll results come as Hollywood writers and actors have focused on producers' use of artificial intelligence as a key factor in their strike against studios. The Writers Guild of America has demanded to "regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies" in television and movie productions.
Among the array of worries facing U.S. workers, however, FOBO still remains well behind loss of benefits and wage reduction as the top concern, Gallup found.
Nearly a third of respondents, or 31%, said they are worried they could lose benefits in the near future, while 24% indicated they were most concerned about having their wages reduced.