I dunno. Everyone where I work in my department is paid well and works very very hard.
It's also oil and gas and publicly traded... So if you suck they will fire you quickly....
I'm in an interesting position where I work two jobs, one as an engineer who works primarily from home, the other as a general contractor doing basements, bathrooms and kitchens primarily. Drywall, tiling, flooring, painting, basic electrical, et cetera.I can only speak for my IT job but I only ever work a few hours a day most of the time because there’s only that much actual work to do 95% of the time.
At the white collar job, a lot of the job itself is fluff. There is not 40 hours of work to do in a week. I tried ramping up how much I did after my son was born, and increased how much I looked for work, asking around if anyone needed anything, etc. The result was I have a lot more permanent busy work now as I inherited some databases from someone who quiet quitted. I got a meager raise for my substantially increased workload. On top of this, I feel guilty for being paid when I'm not working, but I know I am doing more than most people in my position. Nothing at this job feels rewarding because it's mostly just numbers on a screen. It's very strange.
At the blue collar job, there is no loafing about, I work every hour I'm paid, there are no breaks, and I'm happier doing it, but it doesn't pay nearly as much unless I started my own business.
This kind of two tiered system, one in the real world, and one in the aether, doesn't seem sustainable to me, and no, I dont think automation will be a real threat. Hardware isn't advancing much anymore, and software is getting worse too, since the programmers are worse. If anything I could see the spreadsheet aspect of my white collar job being automated.