1 in 6 Gen Z’ers may switch from white collar to blue collar jobs due to fear of AI, Intelligent.com survey finds
With unstable market conditions, persistent layoffs, and emerging artificial intelligence technologies, Gen Z’ers are rethinking their career and educational goals
The future of jobs is changing, and so is the way we perform those jobs. Automation is already reshaping companies’ workforce — including yours. It used to be that robots could only replace blue-collar jobs. But now, artificial intelligence (AI) is about to upend the job market and destabilize white-collar work just like robots did on car assembly lines.
The destabilization of white-collar work will be further accelerated by the recent launch of generative tools like ChatGPT, which was launched a little over two months ago by a once-obscure startup called OpenAI. In just two months after its release, ChatGPT reached 100 million monthly active users in January, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history.
ChatGPT is a dialogue-based AI chat interface for its GPT-3 family of large language models. The mind-blowing ChatGPT is a successor to the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), which is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.
ChatGPT was adapted from the GPT-3.5 model but trained to provide more conversational answers. However, unlike the GPT-3, the new ChatGPT demonstrates an array of new capabilities including the ability to engage in conversations with users, write software codes, tell stories, and provide solutions to complex mathematical equations. ChatGPT could do virtually everything from writing poetry, and correcting coding mistakes with detailed examples, to generating AI art prompts. It can even explain the worst-case time complexity of the bubble sort algorithm.
That’s not all. ChatGPT also passed the MBA exam given by a Wharton professor. The chatbot’s performance on the MBA test has “important implications for business school education,” wrote Christian Terwiesch, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, NBC reported.
The mind-blowing performance of ChatGPT may also spell doom for white-collar workers, especially for IT professionals, software developers, content writers, and financial analysts, among others. In years to come, there’s no doubt that AI will reduce employment employees for college-educated workers. The fear of ChatGPT eliminating college-educated jobs is real. Generation Z (or more commonly Gen Z for short) has seen the writing on the wall and already making plans to switch to less-automated jobs.
Recently, Intelligent.com, a trusted resource for online degree rankings and higher education planning, published a survey report that examines the state of the current job market and how it impacts the professional goals of Gen Z’ers. The report also shares insight into alternative career paths that Gen Z’ers are now considering. Researchers gathered feedback from 1,000 respondents between the ages of 16 and 26 in the United States.
The survey found that advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) evoke concerns about the future of the white-collar job market. Based on survey results, 48 percent of respondents plan to work in the white-collar field, 32 percent plan to work in the blue-collar field, and 20 percent are unsure. Among those who say they plan to pursue white-collar careers, 62 percent say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ concerned about AI chatbot ChatGPT’s impact on the white-collar job market. Fifty-three percent of this group say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ likely to switch to a blue-collar career, as ChatGPT is less likely to affect skilled trade.
Survey results also reveal how high-profile layoffs in the technology industry are affecting Generation Z career plans. Among respondents who are intended technology majors, 82 percent say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ concerned about the recent layoffs and 76 percent say their career goals have ‘somewhat’ or ‘majorly’ changed within the past six months.
“Tech majors are now facing much uncertainty about their job prospects post-graduation given the high-profile layoffs in the tech industry,” commented education advisor Blanca Villagomez. “This poses serious implications for their career development and well-being. I do believe it will be challenging for some new graduates to break into the tech industry this year.”
“Even experienced tech professionals are struggling to attain jobs now,” she continued. “However, I don’t believe that students need to necessarily pivot their career goals and avoid tech altogether. The current market reminds me of the 2008 financial crisis and how challenging it was back then. It will shift eventually–we just don’t know the exact time frame.”
Aside from blue-collar jobs, Gen Z’ers are also considering alternative career paths and industries. Some write-in responses include ‘firefighter,’ ‘construction,’ ‘business owner,’ ‘healthcare,’ and ‘CEO.’ Among respondents who are currently enrolled in college or are planning to attend within the next two years, 24 percent say they intend to major in business in order to become their own boss.
All data found within this release derives from a survey commissioned by Intelligent.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on February 1, 2023. In total, 1,000 participants in the United States were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were between the ages of 16 and 26. The survey used a convenience sampling method and employed Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure both random and organic surveying. To view the complete report, please visit https://www.intelligent.com/fearing-an-ai-takeover-1-in-6-gen-zers-may-switch-to-blue-collar-careers/.
Intelligent.com provides unbiased research to help students make informed decisions about higher education programs. The website offers curated guides that include the best degree programs as well as information about financial aid, internships, and even study strategies. With comprehensive, user-friendly guides and hundreds of program rankings, Intelligent.com is a trusted source among students and prospective students.