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Investigating WA’s attitudes to technology in the workforce

First in our two-part series exploring the Committee for Perth, Future of Work survey

It’s no secret that over this past decade there have been incredible developments in technology that have created a long list of benefits for many businesses and employees. These advancements have caused a structural, cultural and behavioural change to our workforces and workplace, and the work we undertake. Many people are concerned with the impact of technology and whether its role in our workplace has produced more disadvantages than advantages.

The Committee for Perth commissioned a research study into the future of work and our workforce with some surprising responses.

With results published in November 2020, the survey was undertaken by more than 1,000 Western Australians as well as more than 40 business leaders, aiming to discover their attitudes to technology, the impact of COVID-19, preparedness for future changes to the workforce and future changes to business.

One of the most important data points revealed that “one-in-two people surveyed expect technology to significantly or completely change the way they work in the next decade.” In reality, technology has significantly changed the way we work for the past 40 years. Advances in technology have occurred at a rapid-fire pace from the 1970’s on. Communication technology is one simple example of the light-speed advancements in technology in the last 40 years. (Anyone remember the telex?)

The Future of Work Survey identified a multitude of advantages and positive opinions from West Australians towards technology

Overall, 62% of those who were surveyed believe that technology has had a positive impact on their lives. This positive impact is rooted in the benefits of using technology, specifically when it comes to communication, reducing efforts and saving time.

68% conclude that since the introduction of technology it has become faster for them to perform routine tasks allowing employees to get these tasks done faster, so they can focus on more important things. In fact, 56% agree that technology increases their capacity to perform complex tasks.

Though awareness, understanding and adoption rates of AI, robotics and virtual reality are low in WA, 43% of those surveyed believe

technology enables me to work remotely

reflecting the technology impacts of COVID-19 and the adjustments made by the workforce.

On the flip side of the technology survey coin:

  • 28% agree that technology reduces the number of people needed to perform job tasks

  • 25% stated that technology costs jobs and that jobs are being automated

  • 22% expressed that technology causes social disconnect

  • 18% believe that people are too reliant on technology

Starkly evident is the belief that, with the rise of automation and advances in technology, segments of the workforce such as mining, health care, social assistance, education, training and manufacturing have become more vulnerable to job loss, and redundancies have climbed since the introduction of technology.

Though more than half of those surveyed had changed role or industry in their career, technology was not the major driver of that change.

Less than one-in five were impacted by changes in technology to the degree that they had to change roles.

Overall, the survey showed employees are more likely to see the positive impacts on advances in technology. Although there are a number of concerns with those advances, most participants believe that there have been more pros than cons. Let’s see what improvements the next advances in technology bring to our work, workforce and workplaces!

Look out for our next article where we explore the changing face of the workforce and business.

Read the full survey report here.

Optimal Resourcing are focussed on the future of work, workforces and workplaces. Our total workforce management consulting solutions can support you to find, assess, select and develop your team to build a scalable, capable workforce.


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