Half of British workers associate new tech with business growth

British workers are much more positive about the impact of new technologies on job creation and business growth compared to employees based in Belgium, Germany, France or the Netherlands. This is according to a large-scale survey conducted by payroll and HR services provider SD Worx in collaboration with the Antwerp Management School. 44.7 percent of Brits have seen the number of jobs rise thanks to tech innovation, compared to 44.4 percent of the French, 38.4 percent of the Dutch, 35.6 percent of the Belgian and 25.7 percent of the German workers. The data looks at organisations in the past three years.

At the same time, Brits are more likely to say new technologies won’t change their day-to-day job in the future, compared with other European nations. A quarter (25.9 percent) of British workers say they don’t believe the way they do their jobs will change due to technology, with 24.4 percent of the French, 20.2 percent of the German, 12.4 percent of the Dutch and only 3 percent of the Belgian workers echoing the sentiment.

“This finding is in line with the conclusion that technology in the workplace usually helps manage routine tasks”, says Professor Ans De Vos, who works at Antwerp Management School on Next Generation Work: Creating Sustainable Careers.

“This often frees up more time for workers to focus on value-adding elements of the job. Our study shows that many employees see things this way too. This is directly opposed to the doom and gloom you often read about when it comes to the impact of technology in the workplace. But what is important is that employers also point out the opportunities for career advancement to their employees.”


Positive thinking

At least a quarter of those surveyed across all countries believe that the new technology introduced by their employers had a positive impact on their career advancement within the company. The figure in the UK is 30.7 percent, with France and the Netherlands showing more positively about the prospect at 31.5 percent and 32.3 percent, accordingly.

Only 25.9 percent of the German workforce believed this to be true. Belgium is an outlier with as many as 47 percent of employees seeing new technology as an opportunity to advance to more senior roles. Only a minority (ranging from 15.5 percent in Belgium to 7.6 percent in the Netherlands) see new technologies as restricting their mobility within the company.

Most respondents did not report any additional stress in the workplace as a result of new technologies. In fact, 23.4 percent of Belgian employees reported that it has alleviated their job-related anxiety. The picture in the Netherlands was similar, with more than 1 in 5 employees agreeing, while the figures for Germany (19.2 percent), the UK (16.4 percent) and France (16.3 percent) were somewhat slightly lower.

For most countries, the introduction of new technology was found to have a neutral effect on workplace stress by around 60 percent of employees. Only in Belgium workplace innovations were found to generate additional stress by 1 in 3 employees, while only 14.6 percent of UK staff have reported increased anxiety levels linked to new tech at work.