Nicole Robinson is a psychology PhD student at QUT who is working with robots. She is with
Nicole Robinson is a psychology PhD student at QUT who is working with robots. She is with "Andy”. Annette Dew

Young people fear robots will steal their jobs

MORE than a quarter of Aussie workers might think robots will take their jobs but when it comes to technology in the workforce, we are a positive bunch.

About 13% of respondents to Galaxy's Australian Futures Survey said they were very excited about technological advancements, compared to 5% who were very worried.

Millennials were the most embracing generation (16% very excited), while Baby Boomers were less enthused (8% very excited).

Despite this, it was the Millennials who were most likely to envision themselves out of a job because of the technological revolution.

About 15% believed a robot would be able to do their work within five years, compared to 10% of Baby Boomers and 9% of Generation X.

About 27% of all respondents predicted a robot would do their job within 20 years.

The future of work is a hot-button topic being tackled by the #WTF campaign, which aims to start a conversation about the big issues and encourage problem solvers to share their ideas.

Readers can join in today on the What's the Future, Australia? website ( or via social media.

You can ask an expert for advice if you're concerned or there's a chance to win $500 just by sharing your ideas on the issue.


Social analyst David Chalke said whether new technology should be a source of worry or excitement for workers depended on their situation.

"If you are 50-plus, tired, low paid and low skilled, you should be terrified because the jobs for you in the future are not going to be there, they will be automated," he said.

"If you are bright, young, smart, adaptable and optimistic, there will always be a job for you. If you have got good interpersonal skills, there will always be a job for you."

REA Group chief inventor Nigel Dalton, who will be a panellist in the #WTF Future of Work discussion, said he was an optimist when it came to predictions of automation.

"I know work is going to change but to me it is the Australian mindset that is important. If I look at history as a predictor of future, Australians are incredibly inventive people," he said.

"We have an amazing legacy of invention and we will continue to solve a lot of problems but (the skills to do so are) not evenly distributed. Does everyone have that mindset? No."

Mr Dalton said he believed robots would take over some jobs but workers could ensure they stayed relevant through continual learning and philosophical thought.

He recommended having a broad education, combining varied topics such as psychology and engineering.

"(Education) is the key to being relevant in the future and the worst thing that could happen is to find yourself irrelevant," he said.


Nicole Robinson is a psychology PhD student at QUT who is working with robots. She is with
QUT psychology student Nicole Robinson Annette Dew

Queensland University of Technology researcher and PhD student Nicole Robinson is researching whether people feel comfortable talking with a robot about health and behavioural goals, and says new technology has the potential to help workers.

"Robots will be the new version of a computer," she said.

"In healthcare, we do acknowledge not everyone will want to talk to a robot but it's an option if people want it. It's not about replacing, it's about enhancing.

"New technology on the horizon is quite exciting."

* Need help with your career path? Or do you have a great idea for the future of work in Australia? Get expert advice and join the debate for a chance to win $500 tomorrow (Monday) at or on Facebook and Twitter #WTF.