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Automation not seen as threat by majority of UK workers

UK workers are generally unconcerned about losing their jobs to robots and are optimistic about the roles that technology will create in the future, according to the recruiter Hays.

In a survey of 14,500 people, 80 per cent of workers expressed interest in using the latest digital technology in the workplace and nearly three quarters said they had an “open mindset” towards digital transformation.

Further, more than four in five of respondents were positive about automation in the workplace and almost all said it is changing their working lives for the better. Almost as many believe the same for their everyday lives.

Almost a third of those polled said the type of tasks they perform at work have changed because of automation, while one in seven said they have decreased.

The survey found that 29 per cent feel automation has changed the type of tasks they carry out at work, especially a reduction in administrative tasks.

Simon Winfield, managing director of Hays UK & Ireland, said: “Our findings show that professionals are more enthusiastic to use digital technology at work than in their personal lives.

“They are also of the opinion that automation within the workplace should be embraced. It certainly isn’t a case that workers are worried about robots taking over their jobs.

“Encouragingly, workers believe that automation allows them to contribute more value to an organisation and agree with their employers that successful implementation requires a positive attitude and openness to change.

“While employers recognise the importance of having an open culture where people are able to adapt to change, adequate training and better clarity on the benefits of automation will ensure employees stay optimistic about increasing automation in the workplace.”

Of 1057 people working in engineering and manufacturing specifically, 73 per cent said their employer was investing in automation or has plans to do so while 48 per cent think automation will allow people to add greater human value to an organisation in the future.

Despite the positive feelings shown by the survey, a report from last year suggested that one in five UK jobs are at risk from automation by 2030.

Meanwhile nearly half of people aged 16-24 believe their future careers will be in roles that don’t even exist yet

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