Over half of employees worldwide feel threatened by automation, 77 pct want to learn new digital skills, PwC study finds

Anca Alexe 10/09/2019 | 16:16

More than half of global employees feel threatened by automation and believe that will significantly change or make their job obsolete within the next ten years, according to PwC’s Upskilling Hopes and Fears research. They also feel that their current employers could be doing more to help them acquire new digital skills.

The majority, 61 percent, were positive about the impact of technology on their day-to-day work, and 77 percent of people would learn new skills now or completely retrain to improve their future employability.

“In Central & Eastern Europe we see that people are increasingly aware that technology and automation are going to significantly change the labour market and that their jobs are going to be impacted. At PwC, we have embarked on an ambitious digital upskilling initiative across CEE, not just for PwC professionals, but also working with our clients and stakeholders to advance this important issue across the territories of our region,” said Nick Kós, the CEO of PwC Central & Eastern Europe.

The research was carried out on over 22,000 adults from 11 countries: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US), starting from PwC research showing that 30 percent of jobs are at risk from automation by the mid-2030s.

Meanwhile, PwC’s 2019 annual CEO survey shows that the availability of skills is a top concern for 79 percent of CEOs.

“Technology will contribute to the disappearance of some jobs and, at the same time, to the creation of new ones that will need increased digital skills. The transformation of the economy and the labor market due to technology will affect both employees and employers. For this reason, companies and authorities must show openness, adapt to change and, of course, invest in education and training to get the most benefit from this process,” said Ionut Simion, Country Managing Partner of PwC Romania.

The study’s main findings:

  • The opportunities and attitudes vary significantly by an individual’s level of education, location, gender and age.
  • Over a third (34 percent) of adults without school education or training beyond school say they are not learning any new digital skills compared with just 17 percent of college graduates
  • Men are more likely than women to think that technology will have a positive impact on their jobs are also more likely to be learning new skills (80 percent of the men surveyed say they are doing so versus 74 percent of women).
  • 69 percent of 18-34 year olds feel positively about the future impact of technology on their jobs compared with 59 percent of 35-54 year olds, and 50 percent of those aged 55+.
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