Young worker
A young female shop assistant hangs clothes on a rail in the TopShop store in LondonReuters

Young people have grown increasingly worried that the industry's trend of adopting computers and automation technology will eliminate their jobs, research has shown.

According to figures released on 18 January in Davos, Switzerland, ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting, 40% of people between 16 and 25 years of age across developed and emerging markets believe that automation will eliminate their current job within the next decade.

The survey, conducted by US-based consulting group Infosys, polled 1,000 young people per country, across Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, the UK and the US, and found a growing disparity in the way younger generations react to a changing working environment.

Of the people surveyed in the UK, 45%, the second-highest percentage after India, believe computers will make their job no longer required within 10 years, although only 62% of British youth said they might consider learning software development in order to adapt. The figure is lower than those reported in the US and in four of the major emerging economies.

Respondents acknowledged the role of technology skills in securing good career opportunities, particularly in India and China, where 74% and 71% respectively highlighted the role of IT as a pivotal requirement for their careers.

The number fell sightly in developed the countries, although 60% of French respondents and 59% of the people surveyed in Britain shared the opinion of their Indian counterparts.

"Young people around the world can see that new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, will enable them to reimagine the possibilities of human creativity, innovation and productivity," said Vishal Sikka, chief executive and managing director of Infosys.

"To empower these young people to thrive in this great digital transformation, our education systems must bring more focus to lifelong learning, experimentation and exploration – in addition to bringing computer science and technology more fundamentally into the curriculum."

In emerging economies such as China and Brazil, 68% of respondents are concerned that a lack of technology skills will make it increasingly hard for young people to advance career prospects, while in developed economies, the youngest workforce feel under pressure to find a well-remunerated job.

According to the survey, 76% of young workers in France believe their job prospects are worse than those of their parents' generation, while 49% of the respondents in India believe their job opportunities are worse than those of the previous generations, which highlights the stark contrast between developed countries and emerging markets.