UK workers ready to embrace automation

UK workers are optimistic about the opportunities technology will create in the future as over 90% believe it is changing their workplace and everyday lives for the better.

Image of human and robot fingertips about to touch
Professionals in the UK stand ready to embrace automation, as findings from over 14,500 respondents in the Hays What Workers Want 2019 Report reveal that they are interested in using the latest digital technology both in everyday life (70%) and even more so in the workplace (80%).This is echoed by close to three-quarters (73%) of professionals who say they have an open mindset towards digital transformation. 

Embracing automation with purpose

More than four in five (86%) of respondents are embracing automation in the workplace and almost all (93%) believe that it is changing their working lives for the better. Almost as many believe the same for their everyday lives (92%).This purpose-driven view of technology is one espoused by experts including Professor Dr Sally Eaves and featured in the upcoming autumn issue of Relocate magazine.

Are skills keeping pace with technology?

However, when it comes to making technology work for everyone, there are differences in how people rate their understanding and ability to use the latest digital technology in the workplace. C-suite staff are most likely to rate themselves as experts (31%) compared to junior level staff (22%).There are notable generational differences too, as over a third (36%) of Generation Z consider themselves experts at using the latest digital technology in the workplace, compared to just 18% of Baby Boomers.

Tasks are evolving with a greater focus on analytical skills

Workers are observing the impact automation is having on tasks carried out by their team: 29% said the type of tasks have changed.Around one in six (15%) professionals say their tasks have decreased, with over a third (36%) believing these to be administrative tasks.On the other hand, 12% said their tasks, specifically analytical tasks (21%), have increased.

AI making work more human?

Despite noticeable changes, professionals feel positive about the opportunities automation will bring. Over a third (39%) of respondents feel that automation offers more opportunities to add greater “human value” to an organisation now. More employers than employees felt this was the case (43% versus 36%).Overall, nearly half of respondents (48%) were optimistic about the opportunities in the future, which will come about as a result of automation. 

‘No worries robots are taking over jobs’

Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland, said: “Our findings show that professionals are more enthusiastic to use digital technology at work than in their personal lives.“They are also of the opinion that automation within the workplace should be embraced – it certainly isn’t a case that workers are worried about robots taking over their jobs.“Encouragingly, workers believe that automation allows them to contribute more value to an organisation and agree with their employers that successful implementation requires a positive attitude and openness to change.“While employers recognise the importance of having an open culture where people are able to adapt to change, adequate training and better clarity on the benefits of automation will ensure employees stay optimistic about increasing automation in the workplace.”

Read more technology news and features here.

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