Published byIndeed

63% of brits feel the skills needed for their role will change in the next 5 years...

... but 9 in 10 feel confident to adapt

  • Most workers are positive about their role evolving, feeling “capable”, “prepared” and “excited”
  • The majority (34%) feel AI will have a positive impact on them in their job
  • But concerns around automation remain, as nearly 3 in 5 think more jobs will be lost to AI than created
  • Skilled tradespeople are the group least likely to be replaced by AI, while business strategists & analysts are the most at-risk

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Brits feel the skills needed for their role will change in the next five years, with 15% expecting significant changes, according to data from global hiring and matching platform, Indeed

Indeed’s Future of Work Report—which surveyed over 16,000 working people including over 2,250 from the UK—uncovered how employees feel about the changing world of work. Against a backdrop of increased adoption of technology and automation, the majority (34%) feel AI will have a positive impact on their role and nearly 9 in 10 (89%) feel confident to adapt to the changes coming over the next five years. 

In fact, many workers feel “capable” (40%), “prepared” (27%) and “excited” (25%) about how their job may develop. However, perceptions are mixed; a quarter of employees (27%) feel “cautious” and one in four don’t feel prepared to adapt to changes in the workplace. And greater concerns remain; nearly three in five (58%) believe more jobs will be lost to AI than created.

UK workers say skilled tradespeople will be the most resilient to AI 

While AI will undoubtedly impact jobs, workers believe some industries will be more resilient than others. Skilled tradespeople are the group least likely to be replaced by the technology, according to 58% of UK respondents, a common theme globally. Workers believe hospitality and food services employees will be the second-most resilient to AI replacements (45%), followed by healthcare workers (44%). On the other hand, business strategists & analysts (13%), data scientists and analysts (13%) and customer service representatives (14%) are the roles least likely to be unaffected by AI, according to respondents.

Workers also believe that certain tasks are ripe for automation — with three in five saying that AI can carry out data analysis better than humans. Routine tasks (48%) and attention to detail (45%) were other tasks where workers felt AI had the upper hand. 

While repetitive tasks are well-suited for AI, workers say humans will outperform automation when it comes to creativity and critical thinking. Humans scored higher than AI in the majority of areas, with customer service (56%), critical thinking (42%), decision-making (37%) and content creation (37%) among the top skills where humans outpace technology. Unsurprisingly, emotional intelligence (71%) is where workers say humans have the biggest lead over AI. 

Workers want support from employers on upskilling 

With the majority of workers anticipating changes to the skills needed to carry out their role, professional development is front of mind. Over half (59%) of workers put most of the responsibility on employers to develop these skills. 17% put the greatest responsibility on individual employees, while 7% believe the onus is on the government.  

While it’s encouraging to learn that 59% of employees feel their employer is supporting them well through their role’s transition, businesses need to ensure they’re rolling out the right training. Workers say on-the-job training is the most useful way of preparing for changes in their role over the next five years (45%). However, online learning (43%) has been the most common type of learning and development in the last 12 months, with on-the-job training rolled out by just 39% of employers. 

Online learning (35%), blended learning (29%), formal qualifications (22%), instructor‐led training delivered (20%) and career coaching programmes (17%) were other types of learning and development that workers perceived to be most useful. Yet, they were not always among the most common methods offered, as only 16% of workers received formal qualifications, 15% blended learning, 14% instructor-led training and just 8% received career coaching programmes in the past year.

Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at Indeed, said: “It’s natural for workers to feel that AI will change their role, particularly as we’re yet to fully realise AI’s impact on the workplace. But UK employees are confident they can adapt and are generally more optimistic about the effects of technology on their jobs than they are sceptical, showing that they’re up for any change that comes their way. 

“Employers must continue to ensure that their workforce is ready to deal with this shift, which can be done with training and upskilling, especially on technical aspects of job roles and through learning on how to work alongside automation. Businesses must understand and implement the learning methods most valued by employees, as there is some misalignment in what workers are receiving and what they feel is useful. Alongside training, employers must also ensure employees feel valued for their skills which cannot be carried out by technology, such as creativity and decision-making. This approach will help to create an environment where workers can feel excited by changes in their jobs and not uncomfortable.”