Survey Finds 1 in 6 Gen Z’ers May Switch From White Collar to Blue Collar Jobs Due to Fears About AI

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With unstable market conditions, persistent layoffs and emerging artificial intelligence technologies, Gen Z’ers are rethinking their career and educational goals

Among those who say they plan to pursue white collar careers, 62 percent say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ concerned about AI chatbot ChatGPT’s impact on the white collar job market., a trusted resource for online degree rankings and higher education planning, has published a recent survey report that examines the state of the current job market and how it impacts the professional goals of Gen Z’ers. The report also shares insight on alternative career paths that Gen Z’ers are now considering. Researchers gathered feedback from 1,000 respondents between ages 16 and 26 in the United States.

Advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) evoke concerns about the future of the white collar job market. Based on survey results, 48 percent of respondents plan to work in the white collar field, 32 percent plan to work in the blue collar field, and 20 percent are unsure. Among those who say they plan to pursue white collar careers, 62 percent say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ concerned about AI chatbot ChatGPT’s impact on the white collar job market. Fifty-three percent of this group say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ likely to switch to a blue collar career, as ChatGPT is less likely to affect skilled trade.

Survey results also reveal how high-profile layoffs in the technology industry are affecting Generation Z career plans. Among respondents who are intended technology majors, 82 percent say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ concerned about the recent layoffs and 76 percent say their career goals have ‘somewhat’ or ‘majorly’ changed within the past six months.

“Tech majors are now facing much uncertainty about their job prospects post-graduation given the high-profile layoffs in the tech industry,” commented education advisor Blanca Villagomez. “This poses serious implications for their career development and well-being. I do believe it will be challenging for some new graduates to break into the tech industry this year.”

“Even experienced tech professionals are struggling to attain jobs now,” she continued. “However, I don’t believe that students need to necessarily pivot their career goals and avoid tech altogether. The current market reminds me of the 2008 financial crisis and how challenging it was back then. It will shift eventually–we just don’t know the exact time frame.”

Aside from blue collar jobs, Gen Z’ers are also considering alternative career paths and industries. Some write-in responses include ‘firefighter,’ ‘construction,’ ‘business owner,’ ‘healthcare,’ and ‘CEO.’ Among respondents who are currently enrolled in college or are planning to attend within the next two years, 24 percent say they intend to major in business in order to become their own boss.

All data found within this release derives from a survey commissioned by and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish on February 1, 2023. In total, 1,000 participants in the United States were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were between the ages of 16 and 26. The survey used a convenience sampling method and employed Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure both random and organic surveying. To view the complete report, please visit

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Heidi Thiel
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