Gen Z workers say they are worried about AI replacing them

About 43% of workers across generations are worried that another employee with better skills in generative artificial intelligence could replace them in their role in the next year, according to a Feb. 12 report from D2L, a learning technology company.

Generation Z workers appear to be most worried about this. While 52% of Gen Z workers said they’re worried about being replaced within the next year, 45% of millennials and 33% of Generation X workers said the same.

“What this new data suggests is that there’s an opportunity for employers to help workers better prepare themselves for the future and to give people the confidence that they can continue to make a meaningful contribution in their roles,” Sasha Thackaberry, vice president of Wave at D2L, said in a statement. “Skills development — whether it’s on using generative AI more efficiently or simply upskilling to stay ahead of change — is crucial for workers to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of work.”

In a survey of 3,000 full-time and part-time U.S. employees, 60% said they want to use generative AI tools more frequently at work during the next year. About 49% said they’re already using AI tools at least once a week at work, and 52% said they’re using the tools outside of work. At the same time, 37% said they never use AI tools.

In preparation for the future workplace, younger workers were more likely to say they plan to take multiple professional development courses during the next year. About 26% of Gen Z workers and 24% of millennials said they plan to enroll in 6-10 courses in the next 12 months, as compared with 12% of Gen X workers.

Despite ongoing unease about AI in the workplace, worker confidence may be growing compared to previous years, according to a Robert Half report. HR and tech professionals, in particular, believe generative AI tools will create more demand for their skills.

However, mid-career professionals and managers (between ages 25-54) appear to be most at risk for generative AI disruption, according to an Indeed report. Many of these positions are considered “exposed” to disruption, where AI can perform a high percentage of the required skills in a “good” or “excellent” manner.

From an HR perspective, AI tools have the potential for “massive gains,” an HR software expert told HR Dive. AI can help with predictive text and scheduling functions, for instance, which may assist with talent acquisition. AI may also account for human bias and improve diversity and inclusion objectives, she said.