Gallup, the consulting firm specializing in management and workplace analysis, organizational performance, and human resources management, has published its European report "The Real Future of Work". The results of the survey of 4,000 employees in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain show that while European employees are optimistic about the impact of the technological revolution on their professional future, they feel they need to training to adapt their skills or acquire new ones.
Welcoming the era of AI
The study notes a general optimism about the impact of new technologies and the development of AI. The vast majority of European employees say that new technologies will benefit their businesses and a relatively small number are worried about the threat to their jobs.
Most employees surveyed say that it is "not at all likely" that their jobs will be eliminated over the next five years due to technological advances. About one in five employees in the United Kingdom (20%) and France (19%) say that this is fairly or very likely, compared to 13% of employees in Spain and the United States, and 9% in Germany.
Technology and its changes
All employees are lucid about the impact of new technologies on their professional lives – more than one in three employees say that new tools and new technologies have changed their role in 2018 in the four countries. The fears in fact do not relate to the impact of these changes but to the lack of preparation for these changes. Only a fraction of employees in France (22%) say that their companies help them to broaden their range of skills to use new digital technologies and this figure is similar in other European countries. The need for training or more precisely the expectations of employees in terms of skills development are very clearly expressed in the answers obtained.
Crossing the data between the expectations of employees in terms of training and the training courses that actually took place in 2018 makes it possible to measure the differences between employees' expectations and their satisfaction. In Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the percentage of employees who report having actually taken part in training in 2018 is close to or higher than the percentage of those who feel they need such training.
French employees are the exception: 58% believe that they need training to develop their current skills or acquire new skills, but in 2018 only 37% took part in training, versus 57% of employees in Germany, 62% in Spain, and 64% in the United Kingdom. This lack of training is even more pronounced in some sectors. In the manufacturing sector, the percentage of French employees who participated in training in 2018 fell to 27%.
In the four countries surveyed, the question of training raises questions about the responsibility of businesses and employers. Of the European employees who took part in training in 2018, 35% did so on their own initiative, while 65% said that it was set up by their company. The vast majority of employees who have not participated in training (81%) state that it is the role of the employer to initiate and implement these internship or training opportunities.
"This is not the first time that our data show that French companies are lagging behind in the training of their employees. The question is all the more convincing with a technological revolution that has been shaking up traditional production methods for some time now. Optimism and tenacity are evident among French and European employees facing the so-called technological breakthrough," says Laragh Marchand, Partner at Gallup. "On the other hand, there is real pragmatism and lucidity in the face of the need to be properly prepared to deal with these changes. Without training and willingness of companies to meet this need to learn and create a culture capable of preparing employees for rapid technological change, we can question the durability of this optimism."
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