Fri. Nov 26th, 2021
  • Robotic Workforce Research reveals one third of businesses believe the speed of change will be fast, and have imminent plans to automate
  • Almost half of respondees believe 10% – 30% of their business to be automatable

Norfolk, Virginia, US, and London, UK – Genfour, AI and RPA specialist, today released the first Robotic Workforce Research, the results of a global survey of business, to establish the sentiment surrounding robotics and the journey to the automated office.

More than half of respondents answered that they embraced robots and believed that business would get much further with man working hand in hand with machine. These reveal a very different picture from the negative portrayal of the fear surrounding robots and automation.

Across all US/UK businesses, 94% responded that they either embraced robots, or felt a robotic future would be inevitable. Almost half (49.2%) of respondees believe 10% – 30% of their business to be immediately automatable.

In the US, over 57% embrace the idea of robotics, while 37% believe it is inevitable, and only 5% are scared of a future where robots are in the workplace. By comparison, in the UK, almost half of respondents (46%) embrace the arrival of the robots, 47% feel it is inevitable evolution, and 7% are concerned about a future where robots steal our jobs. Only 12% of businesses in the US aren’t considering any form of automation at present.

In the US, over one third of business leaders believe transformation will be fast, and have plans in place now (38%). Over half of all business respondents believe the shift to an automated world will be gradual, and take place over the next two or more years (52%).

Globally, over one third of businesses globally report they are considering automating between 11-20% of the business, in the US 24% believe automation could take the place of as much as 21-30% of business processes; in the UK 32% of respondents believe 11-20% could be automated.

James Hall, Genfour CEO, commented: “These statistics show a very different picture from the negative portrayal of the fear surrounding robots and automation we see all too often. Business leaders see automation as a way to increase productivity, reduce repetitive and mundane tasks and create efficiencies in the back office.”

“It’s our job to elevate the power of automation out of departmental level and into the board room,” added Hall.

The research, carried out by 3Gem Research, surveyed 250 business heads of department and managers across organizations in the US and UK respectively, on their views on the advent of the robots, and uptake within their business departments. Half of the respondents, largely in intermediate or higher managerial positions, classed themselves as ‘sole decision makers’ within businesses of 50-1000+ employees. The research was carried out among a range of sectors including business services, finance and banking and manufacturing.

Other key findings include:

  • IT is the department committed to AI or robotics or looking for processes to be automated (50.2% of global business state 4-5 on the commitment scale, 5 being the highest), followed by operations (43%) and finance (35.4%).
  • HR departments appear polarized with the highest number of ‘no commitment’ responses (33%), being offset by the highest number of ‘very committed’ responses (44%). The survey reveals that organizations believe the lowest level of commitment is at board level (28%). In every department, belief in the US levels of commitment to automation topped those in the UK.
  • Construction is the industry with the most aggressive plans to automate, with 50% of respondents stating they have imminent plans in place.
  • Demographics also impact on views on an automated future. Approximately 60% of 18 – 44 year olds selected they ’embrace [automation]’, this drops to around 40% of those aged above 44. The small group where the view is ‘scared and worried about a future where robots take out jobs’ is highest in the 45-54 age range at 9.1%, and goes down to just 2.3% of 25-34 year olds.
  • Respondents were asked about the key effects and benefits robotic automation would have on the business. Productivity and 24/7 availability ranked 1st and 2nd highest in terms of the benefits (62% and 61% respectively), followed by 58.4% of respondents agreeing “the end of repetitive work” as a top benefit.
  • Interestingly, in terms of the effect AI and robotics will have on the business process outsourcing (BPO) market, 52% of US respondents and 48% of UK respondents believe that it will have a significant impact, in that they would take ownership of automation projects directly, or via a specialist RPA provider.

To download an infographic of the Robotic Workforce Research, click here

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