Study: The "robots are coming to take our jobs" worry is overblown

A new report from Kryon finds that 79% of employees say a third of their day or more is spent on repetitive tasks and that they'd welcome automation to free up their time.

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Burnout among tech professionals has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. One key source for the malaise often cited is having to constantly do mundane, repetitive work. And as a result, a slew of the workforce in 2021 have been seeking a job change—one that's more fulfilling and flexible.  

Kryon, a leader in enterprise automation, says in a new report that robotic process automation (RPA) is key to making more professionals content—a move that increasingly tosses out boring tasks—and that using bots sparks things like creativity, strategy and thoughtfulness. 

Kryon surveyed 300 workers across North America, Europe and Asia and found that workers are more than ready to hand off the most repetitive tasks they handle each day to automated bots.

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Among the key findings from the report, 79% of workers surveyed said they waste 30% of the day or more on monotonous, time-sucking tasks. Moreover, 78% of employees are willing to push repeated tasks off to a digital assistant.

And 75% of workers claimed that automation could heighten their productivity, 62% of employees would like to use the time saved to focus on professional development and training, and 71% of respondents want automation to help them problem-solve.

Still, an often-made argument against automation is that it will result in eliminating jobs people rely on and indeed entire workforces. For Harel Tayeb, the CEO of Kryon, this worry is increasingly becoming a myth.

"The concern of eliminating jobs and workforces isn't really based on reality when you look at our current circumstances," Tayeb said. "There's a global labor shortage, and companies are struggling to fill open positions." 

"Four million people in the U.S. quit their jobs in April alone," Tayeb said. "The 'great resignation' of 2021 shows that workers have a lot of power, and they're re-evaluating where and how they want to work. They want their jobs to have meaning and to feel like they are contributing to something and having an impact."

SEE: What's the fix for the Great Resignation? Hire generalists and train them (TechRepublic)

More aggressive shifts to automation is something that can feed these desires, according to Tayeb. 

"There may be a shortage of candidates," he said, "but there's no shortage of work that needs to be done."  

And others agree. In a survey by Deloitte, for instance, the firm claimed that 90% of executives think automation investments will spike their company's workforce capacity over the stretch of the next three years. And in a study conducted by TechRepublic, we found that when it comes to IT enterprises, 60% are already automating some IT jobs and another 11% plan to do so.

In a press release, Julie Shafiki, CMO of Kryon, noted that so far, "companies are only scratching the surface of what's possible with automation." 

 "The future of work is a more productive environment where humans can delegate processes to bots while they focus on the parts of their jobs they find most rewarding," Shafiki said. "It's time to listen to the people who stand to gain the most from RPA: the employees who are dragged down by these tasks."

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