Recruitment & Career Planning

The Future Of Work: State of American Job Seekers

Many believe job loss to automation is overhyped, contrary to ominous headlines;
Complex attitudes toward technology, automation, and the future of work

ZipRecruiter’s nationwide data shows 60% of job seekers believe fear around robots taking away jobs are overhyped, while 2 in 5 employed job seekers (41%) believe their current job will be automated within their lifetime

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ZipRecruiter, the fastest-growing online employment marketplace, has released new nationwide data in a report titled “State of the American Job Seeker: Automation, AI and Technological Change.” The report analyzes and explores data-based trends as well as the emotions of job seekers on matters such as their current satisfaction level with the job market, their feelings about technological advancements, and their take on automation and what it might mean for their current and future job prospects.

In the survey conducted online by Harris Poll among more than 1,000 U.S. job seekers, ZipRecruiter found that many Americans who are actively looking for a new job are genuinely happy at their current jobs:

  • 49% of employed job seekers say they “love” or “like” their current job.
  • Women (35%) are twice as likely as men (17%) to “dislike” or “hate” their job.
  • 58% of millennials (ages 18-37) “like” or “love” their job, and 62% say they are “fulfilled,” compared with 37% and 34% of gen Xers (ages 38-52) and 25% of baby boomers (ages 53+), respectively.

The majority of job seekers reported drawbacks to technological innovation:

  • 4 in 5 job seekers agree that the current technology boom has left certain people (84%) and cities (78%) behind.
  • Half of job seekers (50%) say the introduction of the Internet has generally done more harm than good. Employed job seekers are more likely to agree with this sentiment than unemployed job seekers (53% employed vs. 40% unemployed).
  • More than 2 in 5 job seekers (44%) believe there is no such thing as a bad technological advancement.

Job seekers don’t fully understand automation and the risks that accompany it:

  • While most job seekers have heard of the term “job automation” (77%), less than 1 in 3 (30%) have an actual understanding of the term saying they are very familiar with it.
  • Nearly 2 in 3 job seekers (64%) believe workers in most industries will be replaced with computers or robots in their lifetime.
  • 60% of job seekers believe that fears around robots taking away jobs are overhyped, yet 7 in 10 job seekers who have heard of automation (70%) are actively looking for jobs less likely to be automated.

There still isn’t a universal lesson for job seekers of tomorrow

  • Soft skills are more common. 50% of job seekers reported having science, technology, or engineering skills, while 79% of job seekers have soft skills.
  • One-two punch. 47% of job seekers have both soft and STEM skills.
  • Back to school. Affordability is the main hurdle when it comes to workers making investments in new skills; 67% of job seekers who don’t currently have these skills but are making an effort to obtain them are relying on self-training to acquire STEM skills (vs. 60% for soft skills).

“Automation is changing the way we work, and emerging artificial intelligence technologies will in some way affect the careers of workers in almost every industry. That’s why we are excited to share the findings of this ‘State of the American Job Seeker‘ study,” said Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter CEO. “In addition to learning directly from job seekers how they feel about their current jobs and the labor market, we wanted to get their take on automation and the rise of AI. Since ZipRecruiter’s founding seven years ago, our mission has been to help people find meaningful jobs, and that includes making sure people understand how technology is changing the way we work, so that they can better prepare, adapt, and ultimately succeed for years to come.”

There still isn't a universal lesson for job seekers of tomorrow

“Technological job displacement has already begun, and it is essential that America’s workforce is prepared to adapt,” said Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. “In our report, we found that cost was the top reason for not being able to acquire STEM skills or soft skills – the two sets of skills currently considered safest from automation and the second most cited reason was individuals believing they don’t need these skills. This demonstrates how important access to information and training will be in ensuring job seekers don’t get ‘left behind,’ and are instead able to seize the unprecedented opportunity technology has to offer.”



About the Survey:
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll between August 31 and September 18, 2017 among 1,006 U.S. adults 18+ who are actively looking for a job, of which 599 are currently employed full-time or part-time, and 407 are not employed but looking for work. For the complete report and full methodology, click here. For more information on ZipRecruiter, please visit
About ZipRecruiter:
ZipRecruiter is the fastest-growing online employment marketplace that aims to be the smartest way to hire and get hired, with a focus on the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) space. Through curated email alerts, award-winning mobile apps, innovative partnerships and one of the most sophisticated job search algorithms in the industry, ZipRecruiter has helped more than 100 million job seekers quickly and easily find meaningful work, as well as millions of employers find quality candidates. Headquartered in Santa Monica with offices in Tempe and Tel-Aviv, ZipRecruiter is funded by IVP (Institutional Venture Partners), Industry Ventures and Basepoint Ventures, and has been recognized as one of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 companies for the past three consecutive years (2015 – 2017).