The research from TalkTalk Business looks to understand the real attitudes and concerns of the working public to incoming technologies like AI and Automation.
The key findings of the research include:
- Over 1 in 7 (15%) of workers think AI, automation and other technology developments have the potential to replace their job completely.
- On the other hand, over a third (39%) of British workers do not feel a single one of their tasks could be supported by automation and 38% of workers think their job will exist exactly as it currently does in 15 years’ time, with no support from automation.
- Of those that believe that AI will impact on their job, less than a third of workers (29%) believe AI could have a positive impact on their role.
- Over a third of male workers (39%) feel they will be better at tackling day-to-day tasks because of AI and automation, in contrast to less than a quarter of female workers (24%), revealing a significant gap between the sexes when it comes to attitudes and expectations towards AI in the workplace. A third (33%) of men look forward to the introduction of these technologies to reduce repetitive admin processes, as opposed to a quarter (25%) of women.
- 28% of male workers in comparison to 19% of female workers think automation will help improve their attention to detail and reduce errors
- A third (33%) of men think the introduction of these technologies will impact on their jobs positively, as opposed to just a quarter (25%) of women
- Across the workforce, an equal volume (29%) of those surveyed see AI as having both a positive and negative impact, while 15% think AI, automation and other technology developments have the potential to replace their job completely
- 38% of workers think their current job will still exist 15 years from now, without any support from AI, automation or any other technology developments. Whereas 12% believe their jobs will be replaced entirely by AI
This stands in stark contrast to a recent prediction by thinktank, Reform, which said that 250,000 public sector administrative jobs could be at risk by 2030 because of automation. Key decision makers surveyed were alert to the sweeping changes ahead, with 47% explaining that their companies intend to upskill their workforces to understand and utilise these newer technologies.
Duncan Gooding, Interim MD at TalkTalk Business, comments: “Employees must wake up to the march of evolving technologies so that they are ready to adapt to the demands and requirements of the workplace of the future. It’s equally important that employers introduce these tools and train workers in a way that inspires intrigue and positivity. AI, in particular has the potential to transform our productivity and creativity at work. It is incumbent upon employers to effectively demonstrate how, so that current and future generations jump at the chance to embrace automated solutions.”
Re-shaping our attitudes to AI
While many workers do not fear the possibility of automation directly impacting their jobs, general attitudes towards these technologies in the workplace aren’t universally positive. The research identifies that over a third (39%) of British workers do not think any time they spend dealing with tasks at work could be supported by automation.
Graeme Codrington, Futurist to TalkTalk Business, comments: “The reality is that we are on the verge of technological advances akin to the Industrial Revolution. While many employers are considering upskilling their workforces to benefit from this shift as early as possible, lots of employees still do not appear to have got the memo to achieve this.
What these latest insights show is that by enabling workers to unlock the full extent of their abilities, this will create a happier, more engaged and productive workforce.”
Business decision makers: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 602 Decision Makers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 8th June 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.
Consumer survey: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2042 adults, of which 1047 were in full or part time employment. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th – 12th June 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).