Upskilling Hopes and Fears

PwC’s global survey on technology, jobs and skills

PwC’s Upskilling Hopes and Fears survey was conducted in July 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Even before the pandemic, much was written about the potential impact of new technologies on jobs, including PwC’s own analysis predicting that 30% of jobs are at risk of automation by the mid-2030s. 

Our Upskilling Hopes and Fears survey sought to test views across a number of different countries, exploring hopes, fears and preparation for the digital future--a future now even closer with the repercussions of COVID-19

We asked more than 22,000 workers to share their thoughts, hopes and fears. Here’s what they told us:

 

77% of adults would learn new skills now or completely retrain to improve their future employability.
53% of workers believe automation will significantly change or make their job obsolete within the next ten years
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Change is coming

  • Workers know automation will change their jobs, and want to learn new skills to improve their employability. 

    • Our survey showed that 53% of workers believe automation will significantly change or make their job obsolete within the next ten years. Only 28% of respondents feel this is unlikely..

    • 77% of adults would learn new skills now or completely retrain to improve their future employability—of these, 35% "strongly agree".

61% of workers were positive about the impact of technology on their day-to-day work
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Digital skills are key

 In fact, most workers welcome new technologies.

  • The majority (61%) were positive about the impact of technology on their day-to-day work. 
  • But only a third of workers, 33%, are given many opportunities to develop digital skills outside their normal duties.
50% of people believe automation presents more opportunities than risks
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Opportunity awaits 

At least half believe that automation presents more opportunities than risks. They believe that automation will improve their job prospects and enable them to achieve digital proficiency or become an expert.

  • 50% globally believe ‘automation presents more opportunities than risks’. 20% believe the opposite.

  • 60% of global respondents think technology will improve their job prospects. 26% say it will impede their prospects and 14% think it will make no difference. 

Over 34% of adults without education or training beyond secondary school say they are not learning any new digital skills, compared to just 17% of graduates
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Education matters

The level of education impacts people’s optimism. College and university educated respondents are the most optimistic about technology and their future employment prospects—even though they believe their current job is likely to change significantly or be displaced. Younger respondents prefer to develop proficiency in a specific technology, while older respondents are keen to build proficiency at learning and adapting to new technologies as they develop: 

  • Fear is greatest where opportunities are fewest—among those whose formal education ended after secondary school.

    • Over a third (34%) of adults without education or training beyond secondary school say they are not learning any new digital skills, compared with just 17% of college or university graduates.

    • Workers without tertiary education are also less likely to be offered such training opportunities by their employers (38% are getting no such opportunities compared with 20% of graduate workers), and are understandably the group most nervous or fearful about the future. 

Does the impact of technology excite or worry you? Are you ready to learn new skills? Compare yourself against 22,000 people around the world

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Compare your answers with those from the survey...

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Contact us

Carol Stubbings

Carol Stubbings

Global Tax and Legal Services Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7739 874275

Blair Sheppard

Blair Sheppard

Global Leader, Strategy and Leadership for the PwC Network, PwC United States

Colm Kelly

Colm Kelly

Global Leader for Purpose, Policy and Corporate Responsibility, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 1 792 8943

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