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Employers Unprepared To Deal With Automation In India

Only a few organisations and HR functions are totally prepared to address the change in requirements related to automation

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Automation in workplace, along with the use of artificial intelligence and robotics is expected to double in the next 3 years in India. However, only a few organisations and HR functions are totally prepared to address the change in requirements related to automation.    

According to a survey by broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson, the India findings of the Global Future of Work Survey reveal that the extent of workplace automation in India in the next three years is expected to be more than the Global and APAC average. Companies in Asia Pacific expect automation to account for on average 23 percent of work being done in the next three years as compared to 13 percent today. In India, it is expected to rise from a current 14 percent to 27 percent is the next three years.

However, contrary to the traditional outlook where automation was believed to replace humans to minimise costs, the study found that more than half the companies in India believe that automation will augment human performance and create new work, not replace it.

While organisations in India expect the percentage of full-time employees to reduce from 85 percent to 78 percent in 3 years’ time, they also anticipate using more contingent and part time workers. The survey also found that 33 percent companies in India today believe that automation enables a flexible deployment of work to other locations, compared to the APAC average of 39 percent.

Most impact of this shift will be seen in the services industry in India, as outsourcing jobs for specific skills, the use of non-employee talent and robotics becomes the norm. A majority 55 percent companies in the services industry in India expect to have fewer full-time employees in three years’ time due to automation, as compared to 14 percent currently.

Worryingly, even though 54 percent of the employers in the services sector realise the need for change in their leaders / managers approach to manage this workforce shift, only 24 percent are currently prepared to address this change.

On a similar note, the study found that even though 54 percent of the manufacturing sector organisations realise the need for automation to augment performance and productivity, only 1 in 3 organisations are prepared to deal with such a change.

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