More than a third (34.2%) of UK workers believe that robots and automation will deliver more interesting and creative jobs for future generations, according to new research. However, the majority of employees require more education to understand the technology’s capabilities, revealing an urgent need for UK businesses to provide comprehensive training during RPA on-boarding.
The news comes from UiPath, a leading enterprise robotic process automation (RPA) company, which recently explored the attitudes towards automation among over 1,000 of the country’s office workers. Despite the fact that two-thirds (71%) of UK employees spend at least one day every week on repetitive tasks, almost 4 out of 5 (78.2%) are uncertain that robots could step in and help. In addition, other key findings revealed:
- Almost half (48.5%) of staff strongly believe that repetitive tasks could not be managed by robots.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 (72%) employees don’t believe robots will make them more productive.
- 61.6% of workers don’t see the introduction of robots as an opportunity to upskill or improve their job role
However, in contradiction, 58% of employees that have already started 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.
Kulpreet Singh, Managing Director EMEA, UiPath, explains: “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.”
Unsurprisingly, Gen Z workers (between the ages of 18 and 24) have a more positive outlook to automation, with 29% believing it will remove the drudge-work they have to do, 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%).
One UK company that is already reaping the rewards of automation is the UK’s largest high street bookmaker, Ladbrokes. The introduction of UiPath software has enabled Ladbrokes to drive efficiencies and allow employees to focus their efforts on more fulfilling tasks innovating the customer experience.
Brendan MacDonald, director of customer compliance operations, Ladbrokes said: “In the first day of live operations, the UiPath robots were able to process 322 applications – that’s a gain of 51 hours each day or the equivalent of six people working an eight-hour shift. The robots handled over 7,000 customer verifications in the first four weeks alone. That’s an incredible volume of work in such a short time, removing the need for our people to spend hours on these repetitive processes.”
Kulpreet Singh, Managing Director EMEA, UiPath, concludes: “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.”