Technology & Innovation

Preparing for the digitisation of the workforce

November 05, 2015


November 05, 2015


How robotics, artificial intelligence and on-demand crowdsourced labour are reshaping organisations

The world of work is changing, fast and fundamentally. Against a backdrop of difficult-to-solve staffing and employment issues, companies are increasingly turning to technology to help them get work done.

Three approaches in particular promise to change the way in which work is sourced by organisations: roboticsartificial intelligence and on-demand, crowdsourced labour. In this report we explore how these trends—collectively termed “workforce digitisation”—are changing the nature of work and how organisations are preparing for this revolution.

Written by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by everis, it is based on a survey of over 220 C-level and other senior executives, desk research and interviews with companies and thought-leaders who have considered the likely implications of new ways of working.

Key findings of the research include

  • More than half of companies have devised a strategy to address workforce digitisation, but fewer than one-quarter have deployed it
  • Robotics technology is being used to free highly skilled physical workers to focus their talents on where they are needed
  • AI has the potential to displace mid-ranking clerical workers
  • On-demand, crowdsourced labour offers scalability but raises strategic issues
  • Business leaders who wish to benefit from workforce digitisation can expect to face tough questions from employees

"Faster, more efficient robots. Intelligent computers capable of learning new tasks. A vast pool of freelance human talent, accessible to employers on demand, over the Internet. The future of work is already here. Are company leaders ready to embrace it?"

Receive forward-looking perspectives from our editors - Subscribe now for our Weekly Digest