More than half believe they are among the winners in the face of digital transformation at work
- Member pulse
Will you be a winner or a loser as digitalisation and artificial intelligence change the world of work? That’s the question we asked in this autumn’s Members’ Pulse. The IT sector was the most confident, with 80% believing they were among the winners. Among those who saw themselves as losers, the answers repeated a lack of skills and interest and the idea that technology will replace their job description.
Digitalisation, automation and, most recently, artificial intelligence are certainly changing the world of work. But the scale and impact of change depends on where you look at it and from what position.
The YTK membership consists of more than half a million people of different ages and fields, so we wanted to ask how the change brought by new technologies feels. Are you excited that AI will take the work or your own skills are not enough to learn something new? Are you nervous about AI taking your job or not having the skills to learn new things? Is it difficult to replace your own work with technology? Or do new technologies even open up new job opportunities?
80% of IT professionals have strong confidence in the future
The comforting news, based on nearly 17,000 Member Pulse respondents*, is that well over half of respondents (58%) believed they were among the winners of work-life change. The responses showed that confidence in their own position was boosted in particular by:
- Confidence that new technologies will not have a significant impact on your sector
“AI will not replace a lap in daycare”
- Confidence that technologies will benefit their sector
“I can process new ideas faster”
“I work in a field that automates diagnostics”
- Your own attitude
“I can adapt to change”
“I have the skills and with further training, I can learn new things”
- The idea that people are always needed
“AI can’t do anything by itself. It needs a human to program and maintain it”
Looking at the responses by industry, it was no great surprise that the IT sector was the most confident about the future: 80% of them believed they were among the winners in the world of work. Almost 3/4 of those working in the financial sector and in research, development and consultancy services felt they were among the winners. Those in advertising, marketing and communication and education were also relatively confident about the future (around 60%).
“Things have gotten so different that my degree isn’t even worth toilet paper”
While the majority of respondents jumped on the winners’ bandwagon, 41% felt they were among the losers in the face of new technologies. Common reasons for this experience included:
- New technologies don’t inspire
“I hate social media and anything digital”
“I’m not interested in artificial intelligence and the internet gives me anxiety”
- Not believing in your own skills or qualifications
“Poor IT skills”
“Things have gotten so different that my degree is not even worth toilet paper”
- The idea of replacing your own job description with technology
“A lot of the work I do can be automated”
“If the value of creativity dies, I will lose my professional resources. It becomes cheap junk that can be produced at the touch of a button.”
- New technologies are bad for everyone
“I am angry at a society that wants to digitalise everything without thinking about the consequences.
“We will all lose if we don’t control AI properly. It will be like fossil fuels: big companies will win at the expense of others.”
By sector, the most pessimistic about their future were in the transport, storage and communication sector (52% felt they were among the losers). Half of those in the legal sector felt they were among the losers. Similarly, well over one in three of those working in commerce and local government also considered themselves to be among the losers (40%).
Managers and experts believe they are winners at work
The survey shows that a high level of professional status and education increases confidence in one’s future. Among respondents in managerial positions, 3/4 of them believed they were among the winners of the future. Almost as many (72%) of professionals believed this, while exactly half of employees believed they were among the winners.
The effect of educational level was also quite straightforward: three out of four respondents with a higher education degree believed they would be winners. 65% of those with a lower university degree and 53% of those with a secondary education considered themselves winners. Only 41% of those in employment after primary education believed they were among the winners in the world of work.
The effect of age was fairly predictable: the younger the respondents, the more confident they were in their own future and in the potential of technologies. 77% of 18-24 year olds believed they were among the winners, while less than half (47%) of 55-64 year olds felt this way.
Among respondents aged 65 and over, as many as 62% believed they were among the winners in the world of work. For many of them, the reason was that they no longer had to keep up with the times.
“Retirement will save the day”, said one winner.
But age is not just a number: some in their 40s might feel old enough to learn new technologies, while many in their 60s were excited to learn something new.
“I can see how I can improve my work with new technologies,” said one over 65-year-old.
“I am quick to learn new systems,” said another in her 60s.
*The survey was sent by email to all YTK members and received 16 570 responses. The survey was conducted from 5.10.–12.10.2023.