Lack of Digital Skills a Concern to European Workers

Technology company Ricoh Ireland has announced the results of a survey that has found that a lack of proficiency in digital skills is a major concern for Irish and European employees. According to the survey, 33 per cent of workers worry that they will soon be out of a job, with concerns about a growing generational gap being apparent, as 70 per cent believe that younger employees are better suited to working with new types of technology.

The survey by Censuswide of 3,600 employees from across Europe found that while workers want to use more innovative digital technology, 40 per cent admit to lacking the skills to make it effective. In addition, 67 per cent want employers to put more emphasis on digital skills training so they can do the best job possible with new tools and services being introduced.

Most workers are positive about the potential of new technology to empower them to work in smarter ways; for example, by providing them with more immediate access to data, the ability to work from home more frequently and the reduction of repetitive tasks.

72 per cent of those surveyed however believe that senior management will only introduce new technology if it helps to cut costs, rather than empower employees. Yet there are drastic perceived risks of underinvestment, as 36 per cent of employees think that their business will fail within five years if the right investments in technology aren’t made. Furthermore, 46 per cent feel that their competitors already have a technological edge.

Almost two-thirds of the workers surveyed say automation technology will enable them to be more productive, while 52 per cent believe that artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on their role.

Commenting on the survey results, Chas Moloney, Director, Ricoh Ireland and UK, said: “Despite the headlines about robots taking over the workplace, most employees see the benefits of automated technologies, particularly where it frees them up to do more interesting work. Digital empowerment through new technologies has the ability to greatly improve productivity and employee engagement, as menial tasks can be automated and streamlined.

“However, no amount of infrastructure spending will help a business that isn’t encouraging and enabling its staff to develop the right skills. To ensure long term success, staff retention and ongoing competitiveness, business leaders must listen to and embrace the needs of employees from every generation in the workplace.”

Pictured above: Chas Moloney, Director, Ricoh Ireland and UK