Workplace automation set to increase in next 3 years


One-third of UK professionals (35%) expect their jobs to be taken over by automation or offshoring within the next decade, yet only 19% say their companies have an integrated digital and business strategy in place to prepare for the impact of automation in the workplace. This is according to research by Willis Towers Watson.

The Pathways to Digital Enablement survey found the proportion of work completed by using automation among UK companies doubled over the last three years, from 5% to 12%, and is expected to almost double to 25% in the next three years. Additionally, 55% of organisations in the UK believe that automation and digitalisation will allow them to do the same amount of work with fewer employees in the next three years.

Globally, nearly all respondents (92%) expect to be using workplace automation, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, within three years. As workplace automation expands worldwide, employers expect to add more contingent workers and other “non-employee” talent to their workforces, while reducing their reliance on full-time employees.

“As the use of contingent labor continues to evolve, it’s critical for companies to address the challenge of integrating those workers into their workforces to effectively compete for highly-skilled talent” said George Zarkadakis, Digital Lead at Willis Towers Watson.

“We know from our research that organisations successful at integrating their contingent workers with automation and their teams are reaping benefits in the form of cost savings and less disruption in the short term.”

In the next 3 years, more than half (59%) of UK organisations expect to redesign jobs so they can only be done by employees with more skills, while 48% expect to design jobs so they can be done by workers with lower skills. Half (52%) expect to deploy work to other locations.