Starship Technologies

Most business decision-makers and knowledge workers happy to work alongside robots

Fears that automation will remove jobs for knowledge workers are reducing as opportunities emerge to upskill and eradicate mundane work

A large majority of knowledge workers are happy to learn new skills and work alongside the robots that are rapidly automating businesses.

A survey of 5,000 of these professionals has revealed that 83% felt this way, with 78% ready to take on new roles.

The survey, carried out by automation software maker Blue Prism, contrasts with reports of fears among people that their jobs are at risk from automation. Blue Prism’s report found that only 37% of knowledge workers fear losing their job.

And with acceptance of automation growing, businesses are not holding back. The survey found that 92% of business decision-makers are planning to automate more of their processes.

Some 88% believe robotic process automation (RPA) and 83% think intelligent automation will help solve global productivity problems and are critical for digital transformations.

For example, Gerald Pullen, head of RPA at Lloyds Banking Group – a Blue Prism customer – said RPA is an important part of Lloyds’ “bank of the future” objective by freeing up staff from mundane, repetitive tasks.

“We have taken the robot out of the human in order to enable those colleagues to fulfil more purposeful roles as we forge ahead with the next stage of our strategy,” he said.

The Blue Prism survey found that more than three-quarters of knowledge workers (78%) have experienced some of their daily tasks being automated in the past 12 months and 34% don’t think the business they work for will be competitive in the next five years if it just relies on a human workforce.

Read more about automation

  • Intelligent agents and automation will be needed to support digitisation efforts in business, but to succeed, IT will need to apply these techniques internally.
  • Research suggests the next 15 years will see young workers’ jobs at risk from automation, putting pressure on the UK to ensure the future generation has appropriate skills.

Chris Bradshaw, chief marketing officer at Blue Prism, said: “As we enter a new era of connected RPA, this technology will open doors for the most digitally savvy employees to create and innovate. This is the first technological revolution to place the human at the heart of the creative value chain, which is why it has such exponential potential.”

But a recent report from the Office for National Statistics found that 70.2% of the jobs at the highest risk of being replaced by automation are held by women.

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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