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​Employers vs staff – who is responsible for digital change?

31 Jan 2017

New research suggests it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure their staff have the right skills under their belts in order to be successful in the changing work place.

The global study from BMC surveyed more than 3,200 office workers in 12 countries, including 500 respondents from Australia and New Zealand, and suggests many workers are excited by the potential for technology to enhance their work lives and create new career opportunities.

However, an average of 40% globally fear they won’t be able to keep up with the rate of change required by digital business, and 38% of Australian workers are concerned with the increasing demand for digital skills.

The onus for change is on employers

Of the Australian workers surveyed, 85% place the responsibility to create innovative cultures on their employers.

“The massive digital disruption we’re experiencing is forcing societies and businesses to create new learning environments to train their labour forces so they’re able to meet the demands of digital industry,” says Paul Appleby, EVP of digital transformation at BMC.

“This study shows employees want to be ‘digital change agents’ and are actively looking to acquire new skills, but asking their employers to help them and offer more training opportunities to meet requirements of the digital era,” he explains.

Employees actively looking to up-skill but most feeling unencouraged to do so

As Australian workers look to acquire digital skills, 41% said they would look to their manager to secure training, 37% said they already have resources available to them, and 29% said they would seek training in their own time out of the office.

Despite many workers being active in their pursuit for new digital skills, the report found Australia still has a while to go in terms of encouraging employees to drive change, with only 26% strongly agreeing that they felt empowered to do so.

Compared to other regions around the world, only 59% of Australians agreed to feeling encouraged in some way, versus an average of 74% globally. 

Workers expect their roles and skill sets to change considerably by 2020

The survey found that 43% of Australian workers believe they will have to learn how to use new software and applications in the next few years. Recognising that digital industry is enabling machines to take a larger role in the work place, 35% of Australian employees expect that some of their tasks will become automated by 2020, with figures higher in China where there is prevalent manufacturing interests (48 %).

New technologies top the list of investments in all markets aside from Australia

Contrary to global results, in Australia, the top investment by 2020 will be employees, with 85% of respondents stating that this should be where their companies place the most time and resources. This was followed by customers at 84%. New technologies came in at 80%.

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