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UK employees believe automation will replace people for repetitive work

UK employees are more convinced than their European counterparts that automation, smart machines and artificial intelligence will replace people for repetitive work, according to the 2016 ADP Research Institute Evolution of Work study

The global report of over 2,400 employees and employers across 13 countries found that almost half (47 percent) of European employees believe that improvements in technology and automation will replace people for repetitive work. UK employees are the most confident in Europe that machines will replace the work of people, with 55 percent believing so, in comparison to just 30 percent in the Netherlands.

The increased reliance on technology will accelerate the requirement for employees to shift roles, and nearly four in ten workers across Europe feel they will have to learn new skills as a result. In addition, employers are confident that technology will be used to measure and impact employee wellbeing, with approximately 60 percent of businesses across Europe feeling this way. In fact, 39 percent of UK employers believe technology will enable organisations to adjust the performance of individuals and teams, as well as improve their performance (38 percent).

Despite its disruptive nature, 37 percent of UK employees are advocates for technology, believing it will enable deeper personal connections across distance and time. In fact, over half (54 percent) feel that they will primarily rely on self-service to solve problems and get their job done and 35 percent go as far to say people will use technology to learn anything, anywhere at any time. Annabel Jones, HR Director at ADP UK, says: “Technology is hugely beneficial to the workplace. It not only enables employers to better cater to the many needs and desires of staff, but also facilities more efficient work for employees.

“Employers should ensure they are not over reliant on technology and still build a human connection with their employees, offering an adequate amount of workplace support and encouragement. This way, employees will be able to efficiently carry out their roles using technology provided for them, but will also feel engaged as they interact with – and are supported by –  their employer”.

“Technological and cultural shifts have always pushed workplace innovation forward, but today an even faster global transformation is underway, and employers must take notice,” said Dermot O’Brien, chief human resources officer, ADP. “To advance business goals – and remain competitive – employers must allow for flexibility, underscore that technology is supporting, not hindering, career fulfilment and provide ways to cultivate personal interests while still driving the mission of the company.”

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