Workers believe tech will create more jobs than it destroys

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Many workers believe robots will complete mundane tasks, leaving interesting ones for humans

Most workers believe advances in technology will create more jobs than they destroy, according to a report from Adecco.

The Humans vs Robots report, based on responses from 1,000 board-level and senior decision makers and more than 1,000 workers in 13 sectors across the UK, found that 54% of employees surveyed thought the rise of technological advancements will result in more jobs than before. Two-thirds (65%) of employees believed that, overall, technology had already increased the number of jobs available to them.

The majority (58.5%) of all those surveyed suggested that robots will take more mundane roles, leaving more interesting ones for humans. Many said robots and artificial intelligence would not be able to compete with humans in key areas within the next decade, including creativity (where 67% thought humans would remain dominant), and empathy (63%).

However, the vast majority (95%) of employers polled said that upskilling will be essential. Almost two-thirds (62%) of them believed it to be the single most important factor in preparing people for the future workplace.

Carl Benedikt Frey, co-director of the Oxford Martin programme on technology and employment at the University of Oxford, said contrary to what many are predicting robots have the potential to enhance careers rather than destroy them. “The introduction of automation in the workplace will usher in a time where our jobs will become more creative and involve more social interaction,” he said. “Although robots will render some occupations obsolete, as technology has in the past, humans and robots will also complement each other in many tasks, creating new types of jobs.”

Alex Fleming, managing director of Adecco UK and Ireland, agreed. “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,” he said. “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.”

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