Photographer: Janko Ferlic

Wall Street’s Youngest Workers Aren’t Worried Robots Will Replace Them

  • Recruiter asks 3,200 professionals how tech will affect career
  • Elders see firings, as juniors expect better work-life balance

Ah, youth.

As growing legions of graying Wall Streeters worry that technology is about to make them obsolete, the industry’s most junior staffers are almost unanimously expecting brighter days, according to an Options Group survey.

The recruiting firm asked more than 3,200 traders, salespeople and other finance professionals how advances over the next five years will impact them. In every bracket age 26 and up, at least 8 percent of respondents predicted they will lose their livelihood.

But virtually nobody younger checked that box. Instead, their most popular answer was “better work-life balance.” (Though, maybe that’s a sarcastic way of saying the same thing.)

Concerns about technology grow stronger with age. About 12 percent of respondents in the 46 to 50 group suspect they’ll be sidelined by changes happening in the next half-decade. Above 51, the share climbs to 15 percent -- meaning roughly one in seven people expect to be pushed out.

To be fair, most respondents expect that technology will bring a host of benefits. Across age groups, at least 36 percent said technology will most likely improve their performance. At least 27 percent predicted better work-life balance. And at least 12 percent said it will create job opportunities that don’t exist today.

Options Group said it conducted the survey globally from Sept. 8 to Oct. 10. Sales and trading personnel were the largest pool of respondents, representing about a quarter, followed by categories such as portfolio managers, bankers, researchers and technology personnel.

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