The proportion of work completed using automation in the UK has more than doubled over the last three years, research from Willis Towers Watson (WLTW) has found.
30 JULY 2019 | CHRIS SEEKINGS
The findings show that 12% of work is now done using automated processes in the UK, up from 5%, with this predicted to double again to 24% over the next three years.
And a third of professionals expect automation or offshoring to replace their jobs within a decade, with most firms confident they will do the same amount of work with fewer staff.
But WLTW also found that less than a fifth of professionals believe their companies have an integrated digital and business strategy in place to prepare for the impact of automation.
"Workplace automation has been growing in leaps and bounds, and all signs point toward continued rapid expansion," said George Zarkadakis, WLTW digital lead.
"However, despite the push to digital transformation and the increasing use of contingent workers, many UK companies are struggling to integrate automation with their workforce."
Globally, the researchers found that nearly all professionals expect to be using workplace automation, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, within three years.
And this is predicted to result in a boom in free agent workers, which are expected to represent 5.3% of the global workforce in three years, up from 4.1% today.
The percentage of workforces comprised of consultants, workers on loan from other organisations, or from free-agent platforms, is also expected to increase in three years.
At the same time, full-time workers will represent 78% of workforces globally in three years, a decline from 82% today.
"As the use of contingent labor continues to evolve, it's critical for companies to address the challenge of integrating those workers into their workforces," said Zarkadakis.
"Organisations successful at integrating their contingent workers with automation and their teams are reaping benefits in the form of cost savings and less disruption in the short term."
"Leaders are the ones who must understand changing work options and sources of talent, and develop new ways to combine human workers and automation."