Nearly half of employers in the United States cite labor shortages as a significant issue. But business leaders aren’t the only ones hurting amid the Great Migration (also known as the Great Resignation). A new UiPath survey found that workers opting to stay with their employers are taking on the workloads of colleagues who have left in addition to managing their usual responsibilities. Consequently, many become frustrated and resign.
The survey of 5,028 office workers around the world focused on employees’ specific workplace frustrations and motivations for seeking new employment opportunities. We also asked these workers how they think their workplace challenges can be improved with technology solutions and education. Here’s what we learned.
Labor shortages aren’t an isolated issue. More than half of global respondents (59%) admitted to feeling increased pressure at their job due to coworkers quitting within the last year. And 68% expressed that they don’t even know what their responsibilities are anymore because things at work have changed so much since their coworkers have quit.
The result? Remaining workers are seriously considering leaving too. Office workers in the U.S. showed the highest interest in resigning from their job in the next six months (60%, compared to the global average of 48%). Many resignations are already underway, with nearly one-third of global office workers currently applying for new jobs.
These figures aren’t entirely surprising considering how labor shortages are compounding an existing issue: workers are frustrated by monotonous tasks. Those are tasks that could be delegated to software robots. Thirty percent of workers cited spending too much time on administrative tasks and processes as a reason they are looking to quit their jobs.
As organizations operate with limited bandwidth, process inefficiencies mean employers must consider either making changes or risk losing talent.
Global office workers say they feel most fulfilled when they’re able to have:
Personal interactions with colleagues and customers (22%)
Opportunities to work on new ideas (17%)
Opportunities to plan and strategize (16%)
These activities are prime examples of strategic work that employees can undertake when automation takes over the busy work in their roles.
Seventy-one percent of global respondents agreed that they could focus on more creative—and less mundane—work with the help of automation. More than freeing up employees for new opportunities, automation can help them complete existing assignments. Nine out of ten (91%) office workers believed that automation can improve job performance in some way. In the U.S., workers see automation’s greatest contribution to job performance as creating opportunities to focus on more important work (51%).
Looking back at last year’s survey, 58% of respondents admitted their jobs didn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be. Comparing that to this year’s survey results, it’s clear that demand for automation is only growing. Fortunately, employers see automation’s value too. Eighty-six percent of respondents in the UiPath 2022 Executive Survey reported that automation will enable their employees to focus on more creative work.
Employers are facing an overwhelmed workforce and a competitive talent market in tandem—and automation training stands to remedy both. Giving employees tools to improve processes is one thing; teaching them how to wield them strategically is another.
The right training is a core part of any automation initiative. And workers agree. Nearly three-fourths of office workers (73%) agreed that incorporating automation—including training—in their organization will help attract new talent and retain talent. This is on par with workers’ attitudes in 2021. In that survey, 73% of workers reported that they’d be more willing to continue working at a company that offered them training opportunities to upgrade their skills.
The good news is that employers are increasingly committing themselves to meeting this demand. Sixty-two percent of respondents globally reported that their employers are already using either artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), or a combination of both. According to employers themselves though, 83% said their companies currently invest in and/or use automation or AI tools. Which suggests that employers could be doing more to democratize their automation investments to employees. Employers interested in ramping up automation training can check out UiPath Academy.
Managing through the Great Migration will require employers to invest in their current workforce. More than flexible work arrangements or increased compensation, workers need tools like automation to make their current roles more satisfying. In turn, these investments can be used to attract new talent. New talent who will jump at the opportunity to train on and leverage cutting-edge technologies at organizations committed to their development and wellbeing.
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