People have long fearfully imagined a time when robots take over the world. And though it may still seem like a far-off Orwellian fantasy, automation is beginning to replace jobs formerly held by blue-collar workers. A new McKinsey & Company study, “The Future of Work in Black America” reveals this shift to automation will hit African American men the hardest.
Automation refers to technologies like artificial intelligence, software and robots that take over low-skilled jobs. For companies, it is more cost-effective to use automation — robots do not require pay, benefits or breaks.
The McKinsey study found three factors leading to Black men feeling the brunt of this shift: One, African American men are overrepresented in high-displacement job categories, that is, jobs that are more likely to be replaced by automation. Some examples of these jobs include food service, factory workers, data-entry workers and retail workers. Two, African American men are underrepresented in low-displacement job categories, which include occupations like farming, teaching and nursing as well as creative, business and legal jobs. Third, African American men are less likely to live in areas expected to see the most economic growth in the next decade.