risk level
Based on 163 votes
by year 2032
or $23.32 per hour
as of 2022

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Automation risk

72% (High Risk)

High Risk (61-80%): Jobs in this category face a significant threat from automation, as many of their tasks can be easily automated using current or near-future technologies.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Finger Dexterity

  • Manual Dexterity

User poll

53% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted they are unsure if this occupation will be automated. However, the automation risk level we have generated suggests a much higher chance of automation: 72% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Machinists will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Slow growth relative to other professions.

The number of 'Machinists' job openings is expected to rise 2.4% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


Low paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Machinists' was $48,510, or $23 per hour

'Machinists' were paid 4.8% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Significantly greater range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 316,860 people employed as 'Machinists' within the United States.

This represents around 0.21% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 466 people are employed as 'Machinists'.

Job description

Set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments out of metal. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. May also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.

SOC Code: 51-4041.00


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vik (Low) says
i believe, we need to have ultra advanced machines to replace what a mechanical machinist do with, inclusion of robots at the workstation, competent enough to setup a machine and produce dimensionally accurate parts.
Apr 06, 2024 at 11:45 PM
trogdor (Moderate) says
CNC is pretty automated at it is already.
Dec 19, 2023 at 09:10 AM
August (Low) says
The machines can make parts but you will always need someone to observe and operate the machines as there are many dexterous tasks that will be unable to be done by machines. In addition due to the highly precision nature many small errors such as poorly cleaning off a tool holder or not detecting metal chips or burrs which happen unpredictably and inconsistently it will be incredibly difficult to automate the entire process.
May 09, 2023 at 08:30 AM
Anthony (Low) says
Machining has a large amounts of variables that change with each job. Simple operations could see automation, but complicated components will likely always need human input.
May 01, 2023 at 08:55 PM
Alan says
I worked the machinist field well over 4 decades starting mid 70s mostly running milling machines CNC eliminated rotory tables, manual index head and tailstock, manually cutting splines, racks, cutting helix on gear driven head
Jan 25, 2023 at 02:34 PM
Daryl says
CNC machinists/programmers will be the individuals setting up, programming, and running the robots that will take a lot of currently existing jobs. Good machinists will soon be running CNC and are also likely to be running 3D printers and robotics.

Robotics and automation currently play, and will continue to play, a larger role in a CNC machinist's career. CNC machinists won't lose jobs to automation; they will be the ones who implement the automation that costs a lot of other jobs.

However, there has been historically, and will continue to be, fewer machinists and workers involved in manufacturing. But CNC machinists will never be non-existent.

Deductive manufacturing currently doesn't have the technology to be replaced, but maybe someday the tech will.
Nov 14, 2022 at 02:59 AM
TA Smith (No chance) says
True experienced machinists are important in setting up current CNC machines. However, machine operators being needed to perform manual functions will be replaced with AI enhanced robots. Even today where robots are operating 24/7, their cost paid for quickly.
Sep 02, 2022 at 09:59 PM
Paul Chapman (Highly likely) says
Corp. Looking for ways to increase their profits, efficiency and speed in manufacturing. AI will be to manufacturing as e-commerce is to retail.
Oct 25, 2020 at 12:45 PM
TA Smith says
It’s the machine operators that will and are being replaced. Experienced machinists are important for setting up and programming the CNC machines.
Sep 02, 2022 at 10:02 PM
Tim Postma (Highly likely) says
Machinists are very likely to be automated because of additive manufacturing especially 3D Printing , even though i am not employed, i have however been personally studying the topic of automation for at least 4 years on some of my spare time almost everyday
May 03, 2019 at 06:11 PM
Gabriel (Low) says
Currently a machinist, as a disclosure.

Currently, there is this ongoing idea that the field of machining is slated to be overrun by automation. What this fails to take in to account is the fact that this has already largely happened. Machinists themselves are growing fewer in number and greater in age. CNC Machines have made a large number of machining processes and related workers redunant, but this revolution took place decades ago already.
Apr 24, 2019 at 08:06 PM
Ron Leffers says
I think that machinist will have to some day work with robots and computer machines.
Jun 05, 2020 at 03:21 PM

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