CXO

Report: Fear of losing job to AI is the no. 1 cause of stress at work

A new report from Udemy identifies the top stressors in modern offices, including the current political climate, artificial intelligence, and the pressure to learn new skills.

More than half of American workers feel more stressed now than only one year ago, and 43% said that stress comes from fear of losing their job to artificial intelligence (AI), according to a report from Udemy released on Tuesday. This fear was the top stressor for millennials and generation X employees, while it didn't even make the top five for baby boomers.

In the study, Workplace Confidential: The Real Story Behind Stress, Skills, and Success in America, 60% of respondents said that they feel stressed at work at least most of the time. While AI was the no. 1 trigger of stress inside the workplace, 50% of employees said the current political climate was the no. 1 cause of stress outside of work.

Next on the list of causes of stress was the pressure to learn new skills relative to shifting responsibilities at work, followed by feeling underskilled. The report also found that millennials and generation Z workers are the most stressed overall.

SEE: Experts say there's a 50% chance AI will outperform humans in every job in 45 years

"Workplace stress has reached unprecedented levels in America, with a unique confluence of internal and external triggers—from a volatile political climate to the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace," Darren Shimkus, vice president and general manager for Udemy for Business, said in a press release for the report. "At the same time, the skills required to do our jobs change about every three months, and pressure to adapt is relentless."

To fight stress at work, employees are taking matters into their own hands. Some 58% said they are using company-sponsored training to combat stress, while 54% are turning to meditation or exercise to de-stress, the report found.

And, to stay competitive, employees are also seeking out learning and development opportunities to grow their skills at work. The report found that 42% of respondents had used their own money to pay for training courses and development.

The way workers want to learn also differs depending on their generation. Millennial and generation Z employees want one-on-one coaching, while generation X wants on-demand learning, and baby boomers prefer learning in the classroom.

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Image: iStockphoto/Jirsak

"Employees are getting in the driver's seat of their training and careers to combat stress and find professional success," Shimkus said in the release. "Businesses have a significant opportunity not only to help reduce workplace stress but also improve productivity and business outcomes by adopting an employee-driven approach to learning and professional development."

Toluna Group conducted the survey on behalf of Udemy, which offers online training courses, in April 2017. Responses were gathered from 1,000+ US office workers, 18 years old or older, in full-time jobs.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. More than 50% of US workers feel more stress than one year ago, with the fear of losing their job to artificial intelligence the top stressor in the workplace.
  2. Outside of work, employees were most stressed by the current political climate, while inside the workplace they also felt unskilled for changing job demands.
  3. Employee training and development, meditation, and exercise were the top ways employees were combatting stress.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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