Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Automation could Threaten Office Jobs in 80% of UK Businesses

Administration, finance and HR jobs could be at risk, as 80% of British businesses currently planning automation look to implement technology in the back office to improve productivity.

This is according to office job specialists, First Recruitment Group, who recently surveyed 73 businesses across the UK on the subject of automation and how it would affect existing jobs, with the findings outlined in a whitepaper.

Nearly 50% of businesses have office automation planned in the next one to three years and another 12% have already implemented it. However, the research showed that many employees were not aware of the plans and how automation would likely impact their roles.

First Recruitment Group CEO, John Urpi, said:

Unless companies are upfront about the automation they have planned, why they have it planned and how it is going to change the way employees work, they are going to find it hard to implement effective automation.

“Automation requires people to programme it in the right way, and to maintain it day-to-day. In fact, the best automation is invisible to the end consumer or client. If staff are concerned even before implementation has started, because of a lack of communication with senior management, they will become resistant to the change, which could cause your business all kinds of future problems. If the employee doesn’t run the automation properly, and the customer is sent the wrong information, it could negatively affect your businesses reputation.”

A joint report by Deloitte, the Big Four accountancy firm, and the University of Oxford in 2014 predicted that over 10 million people are going to lose their jobs over the next 10-20 years, as a result of automation, so with an estimated 10.6 million people currently working in offices around the UK, this is a serious concern.

First Recruitment Group’s whitepaper asked businesses who had already started to implement automation in the office if jobs had been affected yet. They replied: 

  • “It hasn’t affected job security yet as many of our processes are still manual. It may affect jobs in the future when we start to implement more.”
  • “Not yet but I anticipate that once fully in use, some staff will move on to other roles.”

John Urpi said: “Our whitepaper shows the office workplace has been evolving for hundreds of years and this is just another transition. There is no need to panic! Yes some jobs may be replaced by technology, but new jobs will enviably emerge afterwards.

“As long as we continuously communicate internally during the introduction of automation, staff are more likely to embrace the changes to ensure long-term business success. We hope this research will help businesses to better plan automation in their own office, as well as to see the bigger picture that is emerging as technology continues to change our way of life.”

You can download the full whitepaper, “Automation in the office – is your job at risk? at: