ANZ workforce ahead of curve in acceptance of advanced training technology


By Loren Webb

A recent employee survey conducted by global technology leader Genesys, revealed a significantly higher acceptance of advanced training technology by Australian and New Zealand employees, compared to those surveyed in other regions.

Respondents from Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) had the highest combined positive attitude towards technology in the workplace (at 88%). In addition, they also returned the strongest positive reaction to training, assistance and automation by artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and robots, differentiating their collective attitudes from their counterparts in the US, UK, Japan and Germany.

  • 43% indicated they would be willing to be trained by an AI/Bot
  • 44% indicated they would be willing to be trained by a human-like robot powered by AI
  • 67% indicated they would be willing to use a virtual/digital assistant to help manage tasks and deadlines
  • 67% indicated they would be willing to use AR or VR technology for job training

In what might indicate confirmation of a generally accepted worldwide trend towards more flexible working conditions, full-time workers were up to 8% more willing to be trained by some forms of technology than part-time workers.

Impact on the ANZ workforce

Nearly 75% of ANZ respondents stated one of the main reasons for embracing technology in the workplace was for greater efficiency. Further, 45% of Australians and 49% of New Zealanders appreciated specific tools such as AI and Bots, because they believe it enables them to focus on other things.

In line with global trends, the ANZ workforce is interested in working with AI, and 33% believe AI will have a positive impact on their jobs in the next five years. 24% reported they are already seeing a positive impact from this intelligent technology, and 54% of ANZ respondents believe they already possess the skills to work in an AI-enabled workplace.

Challenges for the AI enabled workplace

Although there was a positive sentiment to technology in the region overall, new and advanced tools are not without their implementation challenges.

Governance, and where the responsibility to manage new technology should lie remains a concern, with 58% of respondents believing their company should have an ethical policy on the use of AI and bots in the workplace. 62% of ANZ employees also felt companies should be required to maintain a certain number of human employees, and 90% feel their employers should invest in training to help them upskill and make the most of advanced technology.

Gwilym Funnell, Vice President of Sales & Managing Director of Australia & New Zealand, said these results did not surprise him.

“We are seeing an increase in ANZ companies looking for innovative ways to implement technology to improve their current processes. The demand for providing fast, efficient and reliable service is growing, and the way to meet this demand is to seamlessly blend AI technologies with human support.

“As our region is smaller and more agile than many other markets, we find the vast majority of businesses and employees are open to change, and it’s wonderful to see the results of our truly progressive workforce,” said Mr Funnell.

Additional survey highlights:

  • 25% of ANZ respondents have never felt threatened by technology
  • 32% of people aged 18-38 years believe AI has had a positive impact on their job
  • Just 10% of ANZ respondents expressed a dislike of new technology tools being introduced into the workplace
  • Staff in smaller organisations sometimes feel more threatened by new technology than staff in larger organisations by 8%
  • 69% of employees believe their employer understands how they use technology at work

Survey methodology and participants

4,207 employees from five regions including the US, UK, Japan and Germany completed the online survey in April 2019. The ANZ region represented 19% of respondents, who were evenly divided into three age ranges (18-38, 39-54, 55-73) with women accounting for 51% and men 49%.

Genesys®, the global leader in omnichannel customer experience and contact centre solutions, commissioned this survey to better understand current global attitudes towards artificial intelligence in the workplace and what this means for the future of AI.

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