Younger workers ready to embrace their new robot overlords

Despite warnings that AI could lead to widespread redundancies, younger workers across Europe believe that the recent advances in the technology will 'supercharge' the industry in which they workDespite warnings that AI could lead to widespread redundancies, younger workers across Europe believe that the recent advances in the technology will ‘supercharge’ the industry in which they work. According to the second Young Generation in Tech survey, commissioned by HiBob and Venture Capital fund Eight Roads, almost four in five of the 2,000 20-30-year-olds surveyed in tech across Europe believe AI will have a positive impact on their work.

While headlines have focused on the threat of AI to the future of work – one report from Goldman Sachs predicts it could replace 300 million full-time jobs – 78 percent of the younger workers surveyed are confident about the impact the technology will have on their role. Around 70 percent believe AI will make them more productive, efficient and creative, while only 11 percent say they never plan to use AI tools.

Confidence levels are highest in the UK where more than 85 percent of young tech workers are “somewhat” or “very confident” about the advances in AI and tech. By comparison, the percentage of people in Ireland as well as Spain is lower, at 75 percent. According to HR tech firm HiBob, optimism about AI is just one aspect of a ‘dramatic upturn’ in confidence among young tech workers. Just 12 months ago, this group reported feeling disillusioned and let down with their roles in the tech sector, with one in four Europeans on the verge of ‘quitting’.

As of 2023, the proportion of Europeans who are unhappy in their role has more than halved (from 35 percent to just 15 percent). Almost half (48 percent) of those surveyed said they’re “very satisfied” with their role, and 63 percent have no plans to leave their job in the foreseeable future, indicating a more settled workforce than in 2022.  Increased job satisfaction also seems to be linked to greater job security, with 59 percent of respondents in Europe considering their position to be secure, compared with 51 percent last year.  Some 77 percent of respondents also reported having been promoted at least once in the past 24 months, too.


Back to the office

Elsewhere, as the debate around working patterns continues to divide, the survey reveals that the office isn’t dead. While flexible work models remain important across all regions surveyed, young people do still want to go to the office. More than half (56 percent) said they choose to be in the office four or five days a week, while only 9 percent choose to work fully remotely.

Young people confirm that being in the office makes them more engaged and motivated.  When asked about what they most like about being in the office, respondents mention the people they work with: their team, their manager and interactions with people in general.

Proving that purpose is also a key driver for young workers, more than a fifth of Europeans (21 percent) said that their ideal role would be for a company with positive impact, and they regret the fact their employer isn’t making more of a positive difference to the world. The same number additionally said that working for a company with strong values and which promotes fairness, collaboration, and allows time for volunteering supports their mental health and wellbeing.

While the survey found that fears over job insecurity had largely receded, over half (56 percent) reported their job impacts their mental health. This likely reflects more openness and less stigma about mental health in the prevailing culture. When asked what employers can do to support the respondents’ mental health, being trusted to complete tasks came out on top, followed by having the necessary resources to do their job. Having direct access to mental health specialists, and specific wellbeing benefits fell further down the list.

Image created by Anna Husfeldt