Would employees prefer a human or robot boss?

After a decade of discussing possible AI takeovers, are we ready to have a 'non-human' leader?

Would employees prefer a human or robot boss?

A study in the US found that an overwhelming 87% of employees would still prefer to take direction from a human boss.

Only about one in 10 are willing to listen to a software program at work.

This sentiment is shared among employees of all age groups.

READ MORE: Employees trust robots more than their managers

As we head into a new decade, whether we’ll see more robots actually taking over jobs can be anybody’s guess. But the study by SYKES may give us a little glimpse into the actual impact of digital disruption.

Fewer than 5% of Americans surveyed said they have faced job loss due to automation. Additionally, over two-thirds said they don’t know anyone who has lost a job due to automation technologies implemented at their place of work.

A mere 7% of workers said they know at least one person who has lost a job due to automation.

The study also found that American employees remain optimistic. Three in four employees don’t believe they’re at risk of losing their jobs due to automation anytime within the next decade.

The ones most worried about their jobs are:

  • Gen Z: 18 to 24 age group (19%)
  • Mix of Millennials and Gen X: 35 to 44 age group (19%)

Are employers doing enough?
While training and knowledge sessions can keep confidence levels up in transformative times, the study found that employers are not having enough conversation about the impact of automation on work.

Fewer than a quarter of surveyed workers reported ever having had discussions about the potential impact of automation.

While a worrying 61% of employees said they’ve never had any discussions about it at work.

Gen Z-ers reported having some kind of discussion around the topic more than any other age group surveyed (28%). Of employees 54 and older, only 16% indicated having had these conversations.

Thankfully, majority (58%) of employees said their companies provide some form of training to help them keep current.

READ MORE: Should robots be treated like human employees?

Despite this, it might still be lacking, as about four in 10 employees are finding their own means to keep informed of changes in workplace technologies and learning to use the tech through independent research.

Another 39% plan to take advantage of more professional development opportunities at work. While just 11% of employees said they plan to take formal college or vocational upskilling courses to stay current with the rapid changes at work.

Employees embarking on personal upgrading by age group:

  • Gen Z: Most keen on keeping current, with 21% have plans to jump back in the classroom
  • Gen X: 32% have no plans yet
  • Baby Boomers: 41% have no plans yet

Speaking of development, book your ticket to HRD’s Learning and Development Masterclass here.

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