Working in the automated world: a blessing in disguise?

As almost 200,000 people ask Google whether a robot will take over their job every month, many start wondering whether humans will have a place in the automated work future.

Recent research from Tradeshift sheds light on the future of automated work and the attitudes of American employees towards it. And quite surprisingly, the majority of US respondents (71%) have a positive outlook on automation and its impact on overall job satisfaction. While 25% are concerned that robots will eliminate the need for their labor, other 63% believe that their role will always require the human touch.

These results were not echoed in Europe. Both in France and Germany, which currently have lower automation levels, the distribution of those who are concerned and excited about the development is much more even.

This strongly implies that employees who have seen the benefits of automation first-hand see a bright future and plenty of opportunity in their chosen careers,

the report suggests.

When it comes to the advantages of automation, most workers value reduction in low value, repetitive tasks, as well as more rewarding work and greater flexibility of shorter working hours to achieve a better work-life balance.

With many workers concerned about the future of their personal roles, not everyone expressed similar worries about the future of management positions. 40% of respondents claimed that a software program would be a more effective line-manager than their current boss, which rose up to 48% in the US. In France in Germany, only a third shared this position.

“When it comes to checking work, spotting problems, and providing potential solutions, the machines win hands down.”

Despite the overall satisfaction with the progress of automation, many respondents stated that the rate of technological change was moving faster than they would like.

Going forward, it may seem like automation will be a solution to many problems: from taking over potentially dangerous labor to leading to better productivity and enhanced work experience for human employees. However, going down that road will be a challenge, with each company having to think carefully about integrating automation into their operations.

“If you’re ready to become more strategic, more collaborative, and ultimately more visible within the business, technology can be an important ally in your journey,” said Mikkel Hippe Brun, Co-Founder of Tradeshift.

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