Will future employees be working with technology—or replaced by it?

by | Sep 16, 2020 | Public Relations

With AI and other technologies saturating workplaces and business processes, many employees—including those in communications—have fears in the backs of their minds that their jobs may one day (and not too far off) become largely automated, invalidating their contributions and pushing them out of the workplace.

However, new research from data and analytics company GlobalData finds that four out of five U.S. workers believe technology will change the way they do their job over the next three years—but they see themselves working alongside technology, rather than being replaced by it.

Most U.S. employees surveyed confirmed that in most of their jobs, technology can do some, but not all, of the work. This suggests that the future of work will see technology augment workers, rather than replace them.

AI was chosen by 37 percent of respondents when asked what technologies they thought would change the way they do their job over the next three years

“Technology is increasingly being used to augment people’s jobs by handling the more repetitive job functions, giving employees time to tackle the more complex or judgement-based parts of their role,” said Cyrus Mewawalla, head of thematic research at GlobalData, in a news release. “That, perhaps, explains why people are more optimistic than pessimistic about the future.”

Only 21 percent of respondents said they were worried about their future employment, and only 23 percent believe that between 81 and 100 percent of their job could be performed by technology.

Technologies other than AI are also changing the way people do their jobs

These include collaboration tools such as Zoom, Slack, Teams, Skype and Trello; robotic process automation (RPA); wearable tech; and augmented reality. Collaboration tools were identified by 25 percent of respondents as having the capability to change their job, while 21 percent named RPA, which is used to automate transactional back-office processes, as a technology that will impact their job.

“The future of work is a key theme for US businesses and these poll findings reflect how peoples’ working future is being created and enabled by technology—both in the short-term, post COVID-19 and long-term,” Mewawalla added.

“Over the last five months of the COVID-19 crisis, it is the use of technologies such as collaboration tools and cloud computing that has helped people keep working and enabled their companies to stay afloat. GlobalData’s poll suggests most employees believe that the future will see them working alongside technology, rather than being replaced by it.”

The full report is available for purchase here.

The global research surveyed more than 1,600 professionals, 266 of which were in the U.S. GlobalData’s recent report on The Future of Workfound that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the discourse around the future of work theme and its potential positive and negative effects more relevant than ever.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter