UK: new technology to bring both benefits and burdens for workers

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Sunday, September 9th, 2018

A major new study carried out by GQR for the UK’s Trades Union Congress shows that workers have high hopes for how technology could improve working life, as well as some major worries. Key opportunities identified by the poll are for future jobs to put more emphasis on interpersonal skills (56% of workers think this likely), and creativity and original thinking (also 56%). However, the study also identified areas of risk. 66% of workers think automation will lead to work becoming more fast-paced and intensive, and 72% think that they will be more closely monitored by bosses.

Workers are also hopeful that technology can free up their time. In a world where technology had brought about significant productivity gains, 81% of workers would reduce the working week to four days or less – with a 4-day week the most popular at 45%.

With technology having an ever-greater impact in the workplace, the TUC commissioned this poll to understand workers’ hopes and fears linked to technology, and to devise a collaborative strategy which will allow unions, employers and government to manage the changes ahead fairly for employers and employees alike. GQR designed and carried out the survey of 2,145 working people in Great Britain aged 16 and over. Fieldwork was conducted online and the results were weighted to the national profile of working people by age, gender, region, ethnicity, full/part-time work, public/private sector and industry.

Data tables for the poll are available to download here.

For more information, contact GQR’s London Vice President Peter McLeod, on Twitter @mcleodp or