The debate on the extent of job destruction due to automation can be imperfect science, involving a high degree of uncertainty and speculation. Most available evidence, however, highlights a need for policies that can shield specific population groups who are most vulnerable to technological unemployment or skills obsolescence. The ESJ survey data identify that lower-educated males, older workers and those employed in non-standard jobs are typically faced with greater automation risk. Overall, sectors and occupations requiring medium- or lower-level skills are more prone to automation, while professional and interpersonal services provision (such as healthcare or education) are relatively insulated.
Another lesson for policy- makers is that individuals in jobs vulnerable to machine substitution tend to be less aware of such risk. ESJ survey data reveal that, on average, 33% of workers employed in automatable jobs recently experienced new technologies at their workplace, in contrast to 48% of those in low-risk jobs. And it is generally individuals less exposed to robots or digital and AI-related technologies who tend to have negative opinions about the ‘destructive’ nature of technological progress and are less able to adapt to it.