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20 November 2017
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ONLY 1 IN 5 OF BRITISH WORKERS SEES AUTOMATION AS A THREAT TO their JOB

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Some companies are upskilling workers © iStock

9 November 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


Over a third of male workers (39 per cent) believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will make them better at tackling day-to-day tasks, in contrast to less than a quarter of female workers (24 per cent).

 

This gender gap in attitudes and expectations towards AI in the workplace is revealed in a report by TalkTalk Business with research conducted by YouGov. 


The Workforces 2025 report also reveals that: 

 

  • • 28 per cent of workers in comparison to 19 per cent of female workers think automation will help improve their attention to detail and reduce errors.
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  • • A third (33 per cent) of men think the introduction of these technologies will affect their jobs positively, as opposed to just a quarter (25 per cent) of women.
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  • • Across the workforce, an equal number (29 per cent) of those surveyed see AI as having both a positive and negative impact, while 15 per cent think AI, automation and other technology developments have the potential to replace their jobs completely.
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  • • 38 per cent 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 per cent believe their jobs will be replaced by AI.

 

Only one in five British workers regards AI and automation as a threat to their job. This stands in stark contrast to a recent prediction by think tank 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 per cent explaining that their companies intend to upskill their workforces to understand and use these newer technologies.

 

Although many workers do not fear the possibility of automation directly affecting their jobs, general attitudes towards these technologies in the workplace are not universally positive. The research identifies that over a third (39 per cent) 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, said: “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.”