New Research Shows Worker Concerns About Skills Gap

uipath global workforce survey during covid pandemic

Teresa Wu is director of product marketing at UiPath.

As organizations around the world adjust to new ways of working as a result of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many are re-examining their operations with an eye towards digitalization. With employees, partners, customers, and prospects all working remotely, more and more companies are eager to accelerate their digital transformation efforts to drive productivity in a COVID-19, and post-COVID-19, world. In fact, Forrester Research recently released new research validating growing interest amongst businesses to digitally transform. According to their report, “leaders will rethink old ways of tying work to specific locations or types of labor, whether that’s human or digital” and “the adoption of automation will take on a new urgency in the context of enterprise risk and resilience.”

As organizations increasingly invest in digital tools, the questions become: how will their people respond to digital transformation efforts, and do they have the skills they need to work effectively with new enterprise technologies?

UiPath surveyed 4,500 office workers worldwide to answer these very questions. Fielded in February and March 2020, the survey results reflect employee sentiments in a mid-pandemic world, so it’s possible that workers’ thirst for more upskilling and reskilling opportunities has only heightened. Here’s what we learned.

Employees are hungry for new skills

Nearly half (47%) of office workers surveyed are worried they will be out of a job within five years because their skills will be outdated. As a result, 86% say they wish their employer offered opportunities to acquire new skills, and 83% say they wish their employer gave them more opportunity to enhance their current skills.

The opportunity to enhance skillsets may not only be to the benefit of the employee: 80% of workers surveyed believe they would be more productive if they learned new skills, and 88% say they’d be more willing to continue working at a company that offered upskilling and reskilling opportunities.

Analytics, automation, and AI skills are in demand

While data analytics is the most coveted skill globally—with 35% of workers citing this as a skill they want to learn—22% of global workers, and 30% of United States (U.S.) workers, are eager to learn about Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This interest is likely linked to the fact that:

  • 68% believe automation can increase productivity

  • 68% believe it can save time

  • 52% believe it can enable a better work/life balance

  • 43% believe it allows greater opportunity to focus on more important work

In addition to mounting interest in RPA skills, 83% of office workers say they are interested in learning about machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), with 78% noting that ML/AI skills could benefit their career (these numbers are even higher among U.S. office workers).

As remote work becomes more common and as organizations increasingly look to digitally transform, it’s critical that companies offer their people opportunities to develop skills that allow them to effectively use digital tools. Not only can this boost employee satisfaction and productivity, it can also drive ROI of digital technology investments by increasing utilization and driving greater business performance. For employers interested in training their teams on RPA, check out UiPath Academy.

uipath workforce survey skills gap may 2020
Teresa Wu headshot
Teresa Wu

(Previously) Director, Product Marketing, Community, UiPath

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