Three fifths of businesses believe that whole sections of their operations could be automated in the next five years.

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (The Association) has released a study showing 62% of businesses are preparing for this scale of automation, meaning their workers need to develop new skills to future-proof their careers going forwards.

This makes the lack of training currently going on a concern.

Survey results show 8 million workers in the UK have no participated in any learning at work in the last year.

That amounts to over a quarter, 26%, of the UK workforce that have not taken part in career training and development recently.

By not prioritising learning and development, businesses risk falling behind as technology and artificial intelligence propel forwards, demanding new skillsets and focuses from employees.

Such a high percentage of respondents admitting to not having any in-work learning in the last 12 months suggests a worrying level of complacency among some UK businesses. Not only might this have a negative impact on the company but it may also affect an individual’s career journey.

Andrew Harding, chief executive – management accounting – of the Association said: “Complacency will be the difference between the UK’s workforce experiencing a digital shock or a digital revolution. As the UK debates the best path for Brexit, businesses and employees need to wake up to career complacency and help to solve the productivity problem.”

Added to this is the fact that 37% of respondents said they don’t even feel they need to improve their skills, emphasising that not only does the UK need to solve this skills gap, but they also need to change the attitudes of the workforce in relation to the future.

This insight comes at the same time as finding out the UK is lagging behind on labour productivity, which is around 16.3% below the average of all the G7 economies.

Findings show that UK businesses need to spread the message when it comes to the future of automation and AI. Currently, only 38% of respondents think that any part of their role is going to be automated in the near future while 26% of workers have not even considered the impact of automation on their roles.

Harding added: “The UK is a service sector economy and with 80% of the labour force engaged in the sector, we need to be able to adapt to a changing economy. Addressing the skills gap is critical for business and finance leaders as they seek to create value and drive innovation.

“I’m confident, however, that this problem can be overcome if we can recognise and address the inconsistencies between what people expect to happen in the world of work and what they need to do about it.”




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