Ricoh Ireland today announced the results of a survey which has found that a lack of proficiency in digital skills is a major concern for Irish and European employees, with 33% worrying they will soon be out of a job. Concerns about a growing generational gap are apparent as 70% 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, including 250 in Ireland, found that while workers want to use more innovative digital technology, 40% admit that they lack the skills to make it effective. In addition, 67% want employers to put more emphasis on digital skills training so they can do the best job possible with the new tools and services being introduced.

Most workers surveyed are positive about the potential of new technology to empower them to work in smarter ways. This includes more immediate access to data (44%), the ability to work from home more frequently (42%) and the reduction of repetitive tasks (41%).

72% of those surveyed 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 under investment, as 36% of employees think that their business will fail within five years if the right investments in technology aren’t made. What’s more, almost half (46%) feel that their competitors already have a technological edge.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of the workers surveyed say automation technology will enable them to be more productive, while 52% 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.”

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