Robots ready to take over?Human resources
At a time when artificial intelligence (AI) and robotisation are developing at a rapid pace in a number of industries, many employees are increasingly concerned about what this means for their future in the workplace. Indeed, almost a third (28 pct) of employees in Europe believe that their work will be automated sooner or later. Not many feel that this is just around the corner, with only one in fifty (2 pct) afraid that their work will be automated or replaced by a robot sometime during the next year. However, as many as 15 pct of those surveyed believe that this will happen in five years while more than a quarter (28 pct) estimate that it will take about ten years.
There are significant differences between individual countries, with Italian workers being the most worried about automation – 40 pct of employees believe that their work will be automated sooner rather than later. Employees in the United Kingdom are more concerned that the average (32 pct), but only a fifth of the Swiss (20 pct) and Polish (20 pct) employees think that this will happen to them in the next few years. The fear of automation is greater among younger people – almost four out of ten (39 pct) people between the ages of 16 and 24 are concerned that their work will be automated, compared to only 18 pct in the 55+ age group. This may be due to the fact that they are less rooted in their careers and have a longer working life ahead of them, but it also certainly shows that the impact of AI is now firmly embedded in the minds of young people.
Employees in the financial services sector are the most concerned about automation. Around 44 pct are afraid that their work will be replaced in the next decade; whereas at the other end of this scale only 17 pct of education sector employees and 19 pct of those working in the architectural, engineering and construction sectors believe that their work will soon be performed by machines.
At a time when so many employees feel threatened by dismissal or relocation due to technological advances, retraining and upgrading employees would seem to be the way to help them to acquire the skills required in a new world of work.
“It is reassuring that over a third of respondents (37 pct) say that their organisation is already doing this and another 15 pct think that their employer is planning to do so. Nevertheless, this leaves almost half (48 pct) of employees believing that their skills could be replaced in the near future if their employers do not do something about this soon,” concludes ADP. Employers in Italy are the most likely to retrain their employees (66 pct), while those in Switzerland are the least likely (31 pct). Among the various sectors, employers in the IT and telecommunications sectors are look forward the most when it comes to improving the qualifications of employees in preparation for the automated future (61 pct).