Millennial employees prepared to delegate to robots

Research involving 1,200 finance employees in the UK found millennials plan to use robots to avoid human interaction at work, while older workers only intend to use them to tackle tasks such as online filing

The survey on attitudes in the workforce to the use of robots, by software company ABBYY, showed that 17% of 18-34-year olds hate speaking to customers, yet only 4% of over 55s felt the same. One in ten of the younger age group say they would delegate speaking to customers to robots, compared to only 4% of over 55s, despite acknowledging this might not be the best use of the technology.

In contrast, half of over half of over 55s do not think a robot could do better than them at tasks, compared to only a third of millennials. Older workers are continuing to prioritise tasks that could be handed over to robots, such as electronic filing - 60% of over 55s would do this straight away, compared to only 21% of millennials, while 44% claim they would not delegate any tasks to robots.

Neil Murphy, VP global business development at ABBYY, said: ‘Our survey shows that millennials are keen to hand over valuable tasks, such as human interaction, yet the older generation are not yet willing to give up the tasks that could be delegated to robots.

‘What is important to understand therefore is which tasks require human-to-human interaction and which do not and educating staff on how best to make the most of their time alongside automation.’

Separate research commissioned by ACCA, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) and KPMG also showed that half of all finance organisations admit failing to embrace robotics and risk missing out on significant opportunities from automation.

The research points out that robotic process automation (RPA) - software easily programmed by end users to perform high-volume, repeatable, rules-based tasks - is currently garnering considerable attention as a good automation choice for CFOs, since the benefits go beyond cutting costs to include improved control and faster processing speed as well as better data quality.

A global survey of over 2,700 respondents found 50% say their companies had either not trialled or fully implemented robotics and 45% of those say they still need to understand exactly what robotics is before implementing it.

Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, said: ‘What is encouraging is almost half (46%) of respondents are either trialling RPA, or have partially or fully implemented it for all relevant finance processes. Purchase to pay and record to report processes seem to be the most popular respectively, with tax being at the lower end of take up.

‘What we also found is the hesitation in embracing this technology lies in the knowledge of how it works. 45% of respondents say they want to understand exactly what it is, while 38% admit it is not currently their highest priority.’

The ACCA/CA ANZ /KPMG report, Embracing robotic automation during the evolution of finance is here

Report by Pat Sweet

 

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