November 9, 2023

Report Shows: 53% Of Black Workers Fear AI Job Displacement, Yet 45% Embrace AI Tools At Work

Black Workers

A survey conducted by Charter Works found that 53% of Black respondents are afraid of being replaced by AI in comparison to 39% of white respondents.

The survey detailed the many possible futures for the technology, including how it can augment workers, displace workers, change the vast majority of jobs, and perpetuate biases.

It can also have positives, such as identifying and removing biases, decreasing economic inequality, and being a coach for employees.

Currently, one-third of organizations are applying AI across several business units, and 83% of companies consider using AI in their strategy a high priority.

Additionally, according to Tidio, the global AI market will reach a size of half a trillion US dollars in 2023 as the number of businesses using AI has already grown 300% in five years.

As the use of AI in businesses rises, Black Americans, in particular, face concerns.

Black Americans Jobs and AI

A study in 2019 from McKinsey shared an estimate that AI would disrupt 4.5M jobs by Black Americans in 2030.

Per the study, in the future, automation is likely to replace fast food and service positions, which Black people are overrepresented in. 

Charter Works’ research findings suggest that the broader use of AI and automation could disproportionately disadvantage women, workers of color, and those over 55.

“I’m a little nervous about the use of AI as an employee and a consumer,” one Black respondent said, according to internal survey results Charter sent to Insider.

“I have a feeling that it will be mayhem and a huge inconvenience.”

Emily Goligioski, a leading researcher in the Charter study, explained that Black respondents may be more afraid of AI job replacement.

She said this was due to the history of new technologies harming workers of color.

“Past technological transformations definitely suggest there’s some historical precedent – and not for the better – in terms of impact on people of color and women,” she told Insider.

Are There Positives With AI and Black Workers?

Although over half of Black respondents expressed concerns, 45% of Black workers and managers are already more likely to be using generative AI tools in their jobs in comparison to white colleagues (37%).

Black respondents were also more likely than their white counterparts to value the opportunity to be involved in their employer’s AI planning or to help shape their employer’s approach to AI adoption.

The report states that the adoption and excitement, coupled with fears about job loss, suggests that it is essential for employers to bring a participatory approach to AI planning.

“Giving voice to what are we going to do together and making sure their concerns are heard is frankly a basic worker’s right,” said Goligoski.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.