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Eighty-two percent of millennials worry AI will threaten their pay, survey says

Investors think the artificial intelligence revolution is here. But for many workers, the rapid onset of AI technology is raising anxiety about the future of their careers. And no generation is more worried than millennials.

According to a new survey from HR platform Checkr, millennials are especially worried about how AI will impact their job and pay prospects, with 82% of millennial workers concerned AI will result in lower pay for the same position. This compares to 78% of all respondents worried about this risk.

"The data shows that Millennials are stuck between a rock and a hard place," said Checkr head of digital content Sara Korolevich. "While Gen Z is considered digitally native, and Boomers and Gen X are beginning to leave the workforce, even the oldest Millennials still have at least another 20 years of employment in front of them, leaving them vulnerable to the potentially widespread changes this technology could bring about."

Checkr's survey — which is part of a report called "Insights from American Workers" and included results from 3,000 US employees across four generations — was conducted between April 27-28 of this year.

The origins of job anxiety in the AI revolution have already become inescapably clear — as AI is already threatening jobs in media, marketing, and restaurants.

Checkr's data also showed that millennials might be willing to to take a financial hit of their own to get up to speed on AI. To avoid being replaced, 77% of millennials surveyed said they're willing spend their own money building up their AI know-how. In the data Checkr gathered, millennials' anxiety was singular.

"Throughout history, technological disruption and change on this scale have been met with anxiety and uncertainty," said Korolevich. "The emergence of generative AI and language models are no different, so it’s no surprise that American workers are fearful of how this technology will change how they work and even how much they’re paid. However, it’s shocking to see just how many people feel this way."

'I expect there to be a significant impact on jobs'

As AI has boomed, the technology's risks have also moved to the front-and-center of the public's consciousness. One of those key concerns revolves around jobs: will AI be a job-taker or a job-creator?

For Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, the answer, in certain ways at least, seems to be both simple and unknowable, according to his testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrives for a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law hearing on artificial intelligence, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrives for a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law hearing on artificial intelligence on May 16 in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

"Like with all technological revolutions, I expect there to be significant impact on jobs, but exactly what that impact looks like is very difficult to predict," Altman told the committee. "If we went back to the other side of a previous technological revolution, talking about the jobs that exist on the other side you know, you can go back and read books of this. It’s what people said at the time. It’s difficult."

"I believe that there will be far greater jobs on the other side of this, and that the jobs of today will get better."

Yes, jobs will be affected. Yes, there may be fewer jobs of a certain type. But there will also be new jobs. And with those new areas of work, perhaps growth as well.

"I believe that there will be far greater jobs on the other side of this," Altman added, "and that the jobs of today will get better."

Allie Garfinkle is a Senior Tech Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @agarfinks and on LinkedIn.

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