59 per cent of workers believe AI, automation to have no impact on job

But 90 per cent of managers concerned about getting staff up to speed on new tech: Survey

59 per cent of workers believe AI, automation to have no impact on job
A robot valet named Stan by Stanley Robotics moves a car at Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport in Colombier-Saugnieu, France, on March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

Only 16 per cent of workers in Canada are concerned that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will have a negative impact on their job.

More than half (59 per cent) foresee no effect at all, while 25 per cent believe new technologies will have a positive effect, according to a survey of more than 400 professionals by global staffing firm Robert Half.

The positive impact would largely be because of:

  • the opportunity to focus on creativity and problem-solving (38 per cent)
  • increased productivity (31 per cent)
  • the ability to develop new skills and deliver better business solutions (19 per cent).

But one of the top ways technological advancements will affect jobs is they will require new skills from employees (49 per cent), according to a separate Robert Half survey of more than 300 business leaders.

Other top impacts of new technologies on staff include:

  • change in processes (48 per cent)
  • increased employee productivity (45 per cent)
  • routine responsibilities replaced (45 per cent)
  • more time for teams to focus on strategic areas (37 per cent)
  • new career opportunities (37 per cent)

"The impact of new technologies in the workplace transcends all aspects of business, regardless of industry," said David King, senior district president at Robert Half. "Professionals and organizations alike need to embrace and stay ahead of these inevitable changes in order to meet business demands and remain competitive."

Business leaders expect to upgrade the technological skills of their workforce by training current staff (64 per cent), hiring new staff (48 per cent), bringing in consultants who are subject matter experts (41 per cent) and working with external service providers (39 per cent).

But 90 per cent of managers think it will be challenging to get staff up to speed on new technologies, and 88 per cent anticipate it will be difficult to find professionals with the requisite expertise, said the Robert Half report Jobs and AI Anxiety.

"Keeping up with the latest technology may feel challenging at times, but it's as important for professional growth as it is for business development," said King. "Workers who demonstrate an eagerness to learn and ability to adapt quickly to change will be in high demand. And companies that provide staff opportunities to experiment with new tools, while taking a proactive approach to identify and address skills gaps on their teams, will be best positioned to navigate the future."

Latest stories