How Workers Feel About Automation

The role of technology in the workplace is one that has taken a dystopian turn in recent months, at least if you read the tech press.  It’s rare for a day to pass without predictions of robots taking our jobs.

A new report from recruitment website Indeed suggests that the workforce is nowhere near as pessimistic as the press, with most of us regarding robots as something that will support and augment our careers rather than replace them.  The study found that 58% of jobseekers were confident that their role wouldn’t be automated.  This compares with just 27% who thought it might be in the future.

What’s more, over 1/3 of those surveyed revealed they would be only too happy to have robots assist them in their work.  The report revealed five core tasks that people are only too happy to see automated.

  1. Job search assistance
  2. News reporting
  3. Healthcare support
  4. Finance management
  5. Driving vehicles

The authors believe that this enthusiasm for AI is down to its perceived ability to help people to overcome many of the challenges they face today, whether it’s removing discrimination and bias or saving them considerable amounts of time.

“Far from people fearing robots and automation, this study shows that there’s a real enthusiasm among jobseekers to turn to robots to progress their careers – whether receiving careers advice or help finding the right role,” the authors say.

General optimism

This general sense of optimism was shared in another study I covered earlier this year. Workforce solutions company Adecco recently asked 1,000 senior leaders what they thought the impact of technology would be on the workplace.  Most were overwhelmingly optimistic.

For instance, the majority thought that technology will not only make jobs easier, it will also take away many of the mundane tasks we have to perform, thus freeing us up for more enjoyable work.  What’s more, in terms of job displacement, 65% of respondents thought that technology had increased the number of jobs available, with the majority believing this trend will continue into the future.

“Far from the widespread fear that automation will make employees redundant, our research shows that the workplace of the future could create opportunities for more flexible and fulfilling work. Many organisations and employees are buying into the idea of flexible working, but struggling to implement the reality. Our research suggests that robots could be a significant part of the solution,” Adecco said.

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