68% of Brits positive about the impact of technology over next decade, despite perceived threat to job

Epson survey reveals UK workers positive about the future of technological innovation and the workplace

68% of Brits positive about the impact of technology over next decade, despite perceived threat to job

  • 76% of UK employees see technology opening new possibilities for growth

  • 75% think innovation will increase profit for organisations

  • While 77% believe technology will lead to fewer employees, 55% are willing to retrain and reskill to overcome concerns about jobs

7th February 2017 – British employees are optimistic about the potential of technology at work over the next 10 years, an Epson survey released today has revealed, although there are some concerns over the impact on jobs.

Almost seven in 10 (68%) UK workers were positive towards technological innovation at work and 76% believe it will bring new opportunities for growth. While more than three quarters (77%) agreed that technology could lead to fewer employees, 55% said they’d be willing to retrain for another role that isn’t threatened by automation.

The future of work was a hot topic at the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos last week, where industry leaders at the Forum promised to upskill staff even if jobs are displaced1. The enthusiasm to learn is definitely a positive sign for the future.

However, the research underlines the need for British organisations to seize on opportunities offered by new technology. Only 16% of UK employees think their companies are “excellent” at monitoring for advancements in technology, and only 12% believe their companies are ‘excellent’ at engaging with employees to help with the decision-making process. Failure to address these shortcomings could result in British industry missing out on the advantages of adopting new technology.

UK employees also underestimate the disruptive potential of technology. While there’s widespread acceptance that banking, finance and industrial manufacturing are likely to be significantly disrupted by advancements in technology (46% agreed these industries would be significantly disrupted), only 12% felt technological advancement would affect legal accounting, and only 14% thought professional services would be disrupted. There is clearly a perception that technological change will affect some industries more than others, a belief which is arguably ill-founded considering that automation can disrupt any repetitive task, whatever the industry.

Epson Global President, Mr. Minoru Usui said: “The environments in which we live, work and play are going to radically change, thanks to technology as we prevail in a world where our lives take will take on a new purpose. It is understandable that people today are concerned by advances in technology but we also face great opportunity, if technology is managed well. Whatever our current livelihoods, our futures are going to be different and as these findings point out, there is an urgent need for more conversation between governments, organisations and society-at-large to ensure that we are all equipped with the skills to take on new roles and challenges.

“How we take ownership of this evolution will define our roles in the next 10 to 20 years. Technology is connecting us to new possibilities. As a company, Epson is dedicated to facilitating a positive technological shift by developing solutions that will make workforces more efficient and more productive. Our core technologies – wearables, robotics, visual imaging and printing technologies – are poised to deliver a positive version of this future.”


1. “Most of the world’s largest companies promise to retrain staff even if robots replace jobs”, Business Insider UK, 17th January 2017

About Epson
Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 73,000 employees in 91 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

About the study

The two-phase research project was conducted by FTI Consulting. Phase one consisted of qualitative telephone interviews with 17 global futurists and European experts from various sectors from 22nd September-19th October 2016 to gain insights and develop hypotheses on the future of the workplace and the changing roles of the workforce leading up to 2025. Phase two consisted of a quantitative online survey conducted by FTI Consulting’s Strategy Consulting & Research team from 2nd-13th December 2016. Respondents included full-time employees across five major sectors (corporate, manufacturing, education, healthcare and retail) in workplaces across the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in their local languages.

A total of n=7,016 full-time employees completed the survey. The breakdown of the respondents who completed the survey in each country are as follows: United Kingdom (1,329), France (1,308), Germany (1,427), Italy (1,526), Spain (1,426). The breakdown of the respondents who completed the survey in each industry sector are as follows: corporate (2,051), manufacturing (1,519), education (1,090), healthcare (1,215), retail (1,139).

The n=7,016 completes yields a 3% +/- margin of error with an industry standard 95% confidence interval. Please note that the standard convention for rounding has been applied and consequently some totals do not add up to 100%.

For further information on the research methodology or FTI Consulting’s market research services: Market.Research@fticonsulting.com

Global futurists and European experts interviewed

  • Jonathan Reynolds, Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management (OXIRM), Associate Professor in Retail Marketing and Deputy Dean at Said Business School

  • Howard Saunders, Retail Futurist, Twenty Second & Fifth

  • Dave White, Head of Technology Enhanced Learning, University of the Arts London

  • Russel Stannard, Education Technologist and founder of www.teachertrainingvideos.com

  • Professor Darwin Cadwell, Research Director, Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa and Chair of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Chapter (UKRI)

  • Professor Alain Bernard, Research Director, Laboratoire IRCCyN; Vice-President, AFPR; Vice-Chairman, WG5.1 of IFIP; and member of CIRP Council in France

  • Clive Hickman, Chief Executive, Manufacturing Technology Centre

  • Christopher Barnatt, Futurist, ExplainingTheFuture.com

  • Gerd Leonhard, Futurist, The Future Agency

  • Ben Hammersley, Journalist, Technologist, Futurist

  • Brice Le Blévennec, CEO at Emakina

  • Clinton Wingrove, HR Futurist

  • Dr. Bertalan Mesko, Futurist, Founder of The Medical Futurist

  • Giuliano Noci, Professor

  • Richard Webber, Professor

  • Dr. Tobias Gantner, Healthcare Futurist, HealthCare Futurists GmbH

  • Mariano Corso, Scientific Officer