Managers say robots beat out humans for high-quality work
- Fifty-eight percent of managers in MindEdge and Skye Learning's second annual future of work survey said that robots and automated processes perform better than humans. Of the 1,000 managers interviewed, nearly half said they expect automation to take over more jobs in the next five years.
- According to the survey, a high percentage of tech companies (74%) have adopted advanced automation or robotics in the least few years. Study results found that 65% of respondents said they would keep the same level of automation and robots, even if the cost-savings that drove businesses to automate didn't transpire.
- Although respondents rated robotics higher than humans in work performance, the skills they perceived as the least impacted by robots and automation are uniquely human soft skills. The top soft skills that separate workers from machines, according to respondents, are: creative thinking (36%), communication (30%), complex problem solving (21%), critical thinking (20%), decision-making (19%) and teamwork (19%). A majority of managers surveyed cited such soft skills as essential to their managerial work and said they feel their roles are immune to the impacts of automation. Respondents cited training as the best way to provide workers with these skills.
Research has indicated that automation and robotics will upend the way work is done and that some jobs are bound for extinction. What's less clear is how many workers will remain in the workforce after an automation takeover and how many will be trained or upskilled for the jobs humans are still required to do. A 2018 Randstad Workmonitor survey found that 80% of the employees polled want to upgrade their skills in preparation for a digital transformation.
Experts and researchers are continuing to debate the extent to which automated processes and robots will take over humans' jobs. A recent ManpowerGroup report found that 87% of employers plan to hire more people because of — not in spite of — technology. And a Gartner study suggested that AI could bring in more jobs than it takes out. But an Indeed study released in January found that some employees, especially low-wage earners, see automation as a job threat.
One unexpected result from automation in the workplace might be a higher demand for soft skills, which haven't been duplicated by machines. Soft skills topped employers' wish list in a Cengage study and a 2018 LinkedIn study found that the skills gap employers struggle with hit soft skills the hardest. As employers look for, hire and train workers to fulfill the need for technical know-how, they may also want to ensure that workers have the soft skills needed ot get work done.