There has been much speculation in the media that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) would mean a loss of jobs. Only last week the BBC reported that Automation could replace 1.5m jobs
In fact, the adoption of RPA can deliver better job opportunities in the future and UK businesses are being encouraged to inspire their employees to embrace robots and automation.
58% of employees who are already utilising robotic automation within their job roles, admitted that the impact has been positive, demonstrating a strong disconnect between the beliefs and the reality of RPA.
Those beliefs were evident in August 2018 when UiPath conducted a survey with 1000+ UK office workers to understand the attitudes towards automation. It identified that even though two-thirds (71%) of employees spent a least one day a week on repetitive tasks, almost 4 out of 5 (78.2%) were uncertain as to whether robotic processes could step in help and almost half surveyed (48%) didn’t believe that the repetitive tasks could be managed by robots.
Nearly 3 out of 4 (72%) employees don’t believe robots will make them more productive and 6% of workers didn’t see that the introduction of robots would be an opportunity to upskill or improve their job role.
Responding to the survey results, UiPath’s EMEA Managing Director Kulpreet Singh was quoted as saying; “Although we are on the brink of a technological revolution led by robotic process automation, many UK workers fail to grasp how such technology will free them to be more productive. Whilst the adoption of RPA is embraced among businesses, their staff still don’t have faith in the introduction of robots and view it as a futuristic evolution. It’s vital this perception changes and that UK companies play a key role in on-boarding the country’s labour market.”
“Human beings don’t need to be caught up in routine, repetitive work. It is not what we are best suited to. We need to inspire workers by explaining how robotic process automation and artificial intelligence will transform the workplace. It will free up UK workers to use their creativity and energy in more fulfilling and strategically valuable tasks, increasing levels of productivity”
A third (34.2%) of the UK workers surveyed did believe that robots and automation would deliver more interesting and creative jobs for future generations and not unsurprising was that the Gen Z workers (between the ages of 18 and 24) had a more positive outlook to automation, with 29% believing it would remove the drudge-work, compared to the average of 22% across all age groups. In addition, 39% agree that automation will make them more productive (compared to an average of 28.2%).
In summary it was felt that most employees require more education to understand the technology’s capabilities and that there is an urgent need for UK businesses to provide comprehensive training during RPA on-boarding.
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• The Impact of RPA on Employee Engagement, a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper