Digital Skills Demand Piles Pressure On Employees

12 Oct 2017 | 10.00 am

Digital Skills Demand Piles Pressure On Employees

One-third of workers fear losing their jobs over lack of tech skills

12 Oct 2017 | 10.00 am

The increasing demand for digital skills is troubling Irish and European employees, one-third of whom worry that they’ll soon be out of a job because they aren’t sufficiently digitally au fait.

A survey of 3,600 employees across Europe, including 250 in Ireland found that 33% fear their lack of proficiency in digital skills might lose them their jobs. Some 70% of respondents also believe that younger employees are better suited to working with new types of technology.

The survey was commissioned by Ricoh and carried out by Censuswide in August 2017. It was found that while workers want to use more innovative digital technology, 40% admit that they lack the skills to make it effective.

In addition, 67% want employers to put more emphasis on digital skills training so they can do the best job possible with the new tools and services being introduced.

Most workers surveyed are positive about the potential of new technology to empower them to work in smarter ways. This includes more immediate access to data (44%), the ability to work from home more frequently (42%) and the reduction of repetitive tasks (41%).

Around 70% of those surveyed believe that senior management will only introduce new technology if it helps to cut costs, rather than empower employees. However, 36% of employees think that their business will fail within five years if the right investments in technology aren’t made.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of the workers surveyed say automation technology will enable them to be more productive, while 52% believe that artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on their role.

Commenting on the survey results, Chas Moloney, director, Ricoh Ireland and UK, noted that most employees see the benefit of automated technologies, notwithstanding media reports about robots taking over the workplace.

“Digital empowerment through new technologies has the ability to greatly improve productivity and employee engagement, as menial tasks can be automated and streamlined,” he continued.

“However, no amount of infrastructure spending will help a business that isn’t encouraging and enabling its staff to develop the right skills.”

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