Those most impacted by new tools also more satisfied at work: Survey
Two-thirds (65 per cent) of Canadians in the labour force say that, over the past five years, new information or computer technologies have changed the way they do their jobs to a great extent (22 per cent) or some extent (43 per cent), according to a survey from Environics Institute.
Fewer than one in three (31 per cent) say these technologies had very little (20 per cent) or no (11 per cent) effect on the way they do their job.
Among those who say their job has been changed by new technologies, 83 per cent are satisfied with their jobs, compared with 75 per cent of those who have seen little or no change.
Also, those who say the way they do their jobs has been changed by new technologies (82 per cent) are more likely to agree that they are “excited by the possibilities presented by the new technologies” than those who have seen little or no change (72 per cent).
"Canadians generally seem to be open to technological change in the workplace," says Andrew Parkin, executive director of the Environics Institute. "But this doesn't mean that everyone will benefit equally. They won't, and it's important to focus on those Canadians who are benefitting least or even being left behind."
Top executives believe that shifts towards remote collaboration (78 per cent), automation (76 per cent) and fewer people working from offices (61 per cent) are here to stay, according to a separate survey by PwC released in August.
Three-quarters (76 per cent) of workers aged 18 to 24 recognize the effect of new information or technologies in the way they do their job, compared with 54 per cent of those aged 55 and up.
The same is true for 71 per cent of those who completed a university degree, compared with 54 per cent of those who completed apprenticeship or trades training.
The effect of technology is also most felt by those with executive or managerial jobs (74 per cent), followed by professionals (73 per cent), office workers (70 per cent) and those working in retail or sales (70 per cent). Meanwhile, those who work in transportation (44 per cent) or manual labour (56 per cent) are the least likely to recognize technology’s effect.
Technology has also played a huge role in changing the work process of 70 per cent of immigrants, but recent immigrants (75 per cent) are more likely than second- (66 per cent) or third-generation (63 per cent) Canadians to say that new technologies have changed the way they do their jobs.
Racialized Canadians (73 per cent) are also more likely to recognize technology’s effect, compared with those who identify as white (62 per cent), found the survey of 5,000 adults across Canada conducted between Feb. 28 and April 4, 2020.
"We need to evolve what we're trying to achieve with job training for the emerging world of work. Upskilling and reskilling is becoming a reality for virtually everyone in our new economy, so skills training should follow suit and be available on a broad scale,” says Pedro Barata, executive director of the Future Skills Centre.
“But we want to make sure that training contributes to inclusive outcomes that don't reinforce inequality. Job training needs to be widely available, but also carefully targeted and prioritized to account for barriers based on the kind of job you have, as well as your income, race, disability, gender and other categories."