UK’s Older Generation at Risk of Losing Jobs to AI

Photo Credits: Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Losing jobs to AI has been a subject of significant concern and discussion in recent years, as technology adoption grows. As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to reshape the job market, one group that appears particularly vulnerable is the older generation.

A recent survey conducted by JobSwipe reveals that nearly three-quarters of older workers are worried about the implications of AI on the hiring process, shedding light on the pressing issue of job security for this demographic.

This survey, however, is not an isolated instance. Similar surveys have consistently shown that older workers are concerned about AI’s influence on hiring and job security. These findings highlight the need for careful consideration of ageism in AI adoption.

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Survey by JobSwipe

In a recent study by JobSwipe, concerns arise for older workers in the UK job market due to the widening AI skills gap. The study shows that over half of HR professionals prefer candidates with AI skills, but only 11% of those aged 55-64 have used AI for job searches, in contrast to the 48% of 18-24-year-olds who have embraced AI for this purpose.

Key findings:

  • A significant number (57% of those over 65 and 34% of those aged 55-64) express disinterest in AI training for the workplace, while younger individuals, particularly those aged 18-24, show a 75% interest in AI training.
  • The study reveals that 54% of Britons believe possessing AI-related skills is vital in the competitive job market.
  • HR professionals have recognised a growing trend, with 58% noting an increase in candidates using AI for job hunting in the past year.

It’s crucial to note that HR professionals themselves acknowledge the significance of AI skills, with 57% expressing a strong inclination to hire candidates with AI expertise. A substantial 74% of HR professionals anticipate a positive impact of AI on the job market. Notably, more than half of these professionals (56%) have already implemented or plan to integrate AI tools and platforms into their hiring processes.

In contrast, among those aged 55-64, only 11% reported using AI for job searches, and none showed a strong inclination to use generative AI for future job applications. On the other hand, younger demographics, especially 18-24-year-olds (48%) and 25-34-year-olds (34%), have actively adopted AI for job searching. These findings highlight the generational disparity in AI adoption.

These findings emphasise the urgent need for older workers to bridge the AI skills gap to ensure their competitiveness in the evolving job market. As AI reshapes employment opportunities, fostering adaptability and providing opportunities for older generations to acquire AI-related skills becomes paramount, ensuring they do not fall behind and experience losing jobs to AI.

Losing Jobs to AI: Previous Discoveries

In a similar vein, Workingwise has also previously conducted a survey on the matter through their website In this survey, they covered the concerns of older workers on using AI for the hiring process and they also compared to their survey done with working mothers. 

Through this survey, they discovered that nearly three-quarters of older workers are worried about the implications of Artificial Intelligence on the hiring process.

The survey found that older workers are significantly more worried than mums that AI used in the recruitment process might make it harder for them to get an interview for a new job. 27% said they were very worried, compared to 23% of mums, with an additional 44% saying they were quite worried, compared to 31% of mums.

The survey also found that older workers are more worried than mums about the implications of AI for their jobs or the type of work that they do. Over a third (34%) of older workers thought their job would not change due to AI, but the majority – 52% – thought it would. More people thought that change would be negative – 36% compared to 30% who thought it would be positive.

81% said their employer had not spoken to them about any AI-related changes they are implementing or working on. A huge 89% are not receiving training to help them work with AI tools.

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Impact on Older Workers

Older workers face unique challenges in the rapidly evolving job market shaped by automation, digitalisation and AI. Based on existing surveys, they are the most at risk of losing jobs to AI. According to a publication on the University of Oxford’s site, these challenges manifest in several ways:

  • Age-Related Bias in Recruitment: Older workers can experience biases in recruitment processes, with AI unintentionally perpetuating age-related discrimination.
  • High-Level Job Insecurity: Automation of work processes can make older workers more vulnerable to job redundancies due to slower adaptation to new practices.
  • Inadequate/Outdated Policies: Existing policies may not adequately protect older workers from automation-related threats.

In response to these challenges, organisations and policymakers must take proactive steps:

  • Align Policies: Policies should align with changing skill requirements to enable older workers to remain part of the workforce.
  • Address Digital Data Bias: Efforts are needed to mitigate digital data bias that can disproportionately affect older workers.
  • Foster Age-Inclusive Practices: Organisations should embrace practices that promote inclusivity and adaptability for older workers in the digital age.

Understanding the factors influencing older adults’ digital literacy and its impact on their ability to work is essential. This knowledge can guide organisations in developing tailored strategies and employment systems that are effective. To ensure older workers are prepared for this transformation and do not experience losing jobs to AI, organisations must provide targeted training, promote continuous learning, and encourage intergenerational collaboration.

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