63% of Brits Expect Role Changes Within 5 Years, 90% Confident in Adapting

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Brits anticipate that the skills required for their roles will change over the next five years, with 15% expecting significant shifts, as revealed by data from the global hiring and matching platform, Indeed.

Indeed’s Future of Work Report, which surveyed over 16,000 working individuals including more than 2,250 from the UK, sheds light on employee sentiments regarding the evolving landscape of work. Amidst the increased adoption of technology and automation, the majority (34%) believe AI will positively impact their roles, and nearly nine in ten (89%) are confident in their ability to adapt to forthcoming changes over the next five years.

In fact, many workers describe themselves as “capable” (40%), “prepared” (27%), and “excited” (25%) about potential developments in their jobs. However, opinions vary; a quarter of employees (27%) feel “cautious,” and one in four feel unprepared for workplace changes. Moreover, significant concerns persist; nearly three in five (58%) fear that AI will lead to more job losses than creations.

UK workers consider skilled tradespeople to be the most resistant to AI disruption. According to 58% of UK respondents, this sentiment is echoed globally. Workers believe that those in hospitality and food services (45%) and healthcare (44%) will also be less affected by AI, whereas business strategists & analysts (13%), data scientists and analysts (13%), and customer service representatives (14%) are perceived as most vulnerable to AI displacement.

Workers also identify specific tasks as suitable for automation – with three in five acknowledging that AI excels in data analysis over humans. Routine tasks (48%) and attention to detail (45%) are other areas where AI is seen as having an advantage.

Despite AI’s aptitude for repetitive tasks, workers believe humans outperform automation in areas requiring creativity and critical thinking. In roles involving customer service (56%), critical thinking (42%), decision-making (37%), and content creation (37%), humans are seen as more effective. Notably, emotional intelligence (71%) is regarded as a significant human advantage over AI.

With many workers foreseeing changes in the necessary skills for their roles, professional development is increasingly important. Over half (59%) believe that the primary responsibility for developing these skills lies with employers. 17% attribute the greatest responsibility to individual employees, while 7% think the government should take the lead.

It is reassuring that 59% of employees feel well-supported by their employers during this transition. However, the effectiveness of the training provided remains crucial. Workers highlight on-the-job training as the most beneficial preparation for changes, preferred by 45%, although in the past year, the most common form of training has been online learning (43%), compared to just 39% receiving on-the-job training.

Other beneficial training types identified include online learning (35%), blended learning (29%), formal qualifications (22%), instructor-led training (20%), and career coaching programmes (17%). Yet, these are not always widely offered, with only 16% of workers having received formal qualifications, 15% blended learning, 14% instructor-led training, and merely 8% career coaching in the last year.

Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at Indeed, said: “It’s natural for workers to feel that AI will change their role, particularly as we’re yet to fully realise AI’s impact on the workplace. But UK employees are confident they can adapt and are generally more optimistic about the effects of technology on their jobs than they are sceptical, showing that they’re up for any change that comes their way.

“Employers must continue to ensure that their workforce is ready to deal with this shift, which can be done with training and upskilling, especially on technical aspects of job roles and through learning on how to work alongside automation. Businesses must understand and implement the learning methods most valued by employees, as there is some misalignment in what workers are receiving and what they feel is useful. Alongside training, employers must also ensure employees feel valued for their skills which cannot be carried out by technology, such as creativity and decision-making. This approach will help to create an environment where workers can feel excited by changes in their jobs and not uncomfortable.”