PwC Data Uncovers Disconnect Between C-suite Perception and Employee Experience with Workplace Technology

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Global PwC report shows employees are eager for better tech options at work, and are ready to upskill for the future

October 18, 2018 — A large majority of C-suite executives (90%) believe their company pays attention to people's needs when introducing new technologies in the workplace, yet only half (53%) of staff say the same, according to the latest report in PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series, Our status with tech at work: It’s complicated. PwC surveyed more than 12,000 full-time employees globally to research how employee experience with technology is helping people deliver their best work and adapt quickly as work changes.

“Technology is such a central part of the overall work experience that you can’t separate it from your people agenda. Organizational leaders looking to institute a technology-led transformation or implement new workplace technology need to also now consider what motivates people when it comes to technology at work. It cannot be one or the other.”

Carrie Duarte, Partner and Workforce of the Future leader at PwC

Leaders think they’re choosing tech with their people in mind—yet the survey shows a disconnect where leaders and staff do not agree. This disconnect highlights the experience gap between executives and end users within organizations. The resulting blind spot between strategic technology decisions and real-time execution and implementation matters. If leaders do not  have a clear and accurate understanding of how their people use technology at work, and what motivates them to use these tools, both business ambition and the employee experience can suffer.

While this disconnect does illustrate a pain point, it also provides areas for improvement. The study found that people’s willingness to adopt new technologies is linked to key motivations related to experiences that employers can offer: improved efficiency and rewards that can improve status. Employees at all levels are willing to spend an average of two days (15 hours) per month to upgrade their digital skills and prepare for the new ways of work in the future.

Key findings from PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series: Our status with tech at work: It’s complicated:

Leadership/staff gap

  • 90% of C-suite executives agree their company pays attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology. But only about half (53%) of staff say the same

  • 92% of C-suite execs say they’re satisfied with the technology experience their company provides for making progress on their most important work, only 68% of staff agree

  • 73% of people surveyed say they know of systems that would help them produce higher quality work

Upskilling/digital skills

  • 84% say they do their work because they want to learn new things—good news for leaders who are working to build a culture of continuous learning

  • Employees are willing to spend up to 2 days per month to upgrade digital skills; a median response of 15 hours each month

  • Only half (50%) of staff are satisfied with the resources they have at their disposal to learn how to use new technology

  • 46% say their company doesn’t value employees who are technologically savvy

Technology/digital experience

  • Forty to forty-five percent of employees prefer face-to-face interactions for tasks like performance reviews, getting help with difficult problems, and asking questions of their Human Resources (HR) team; the rest prefer more digital interactions.

  • Half of employees prefer that HR tasks, like looking for a new job in the company, scheduling work or time off, or enrolling in benefits, be primarily digital and not face-to-face

  • Digital experiences can improve:

    • Nearly half of employees in a supervisory role (46%) say they feel overwhelmed by technology at work

    • Supervisors also feel like their time isn’t managed better—61% say the tech they use at work requires them to do more transactional or administrative work than they’d like

    • Half of employees (56%) say they feel technology is taking them away from human interaction at work

Driving usage/motivations to adopt new tech

  • For a third of the workforce (34%), the motivation to use technology comes from curiosity and the promise of better efficiency and teamwork

  • Another third (37%) say they’re more likely to adopt new tech if it helps them advance their careers or gain status, such as the opportunity for promotion or other external recognitions

  • The third segment (29%) prefers individual achievement within a predictable environment. They’re willing try new things, but they’re less apt to be motivated by either efficiency or status

For more information and additional findings, visit

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About PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series

PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series enables greater insight into consumer and executive attitudes and behaviors in the rapidly changing technology landscape.

As part of our series, PwC surveyed 12,287 full-time employed adults from July 23 to August 8, 2018, from the following countries: Canada, China and Hong Kong, Germany, India, Mexico, United Kingdom, and the United States. Respondents were asked to identify the sector of their employer: Technology, media, and telecommunications; Health services; Consumer markets; Financial services; Manufacturing; or Other. Respondents qualified if they were at least 18 years old and working for companies with 500 or more employees. The segmentation used to determine motivations relied on inputs from several scales, including the need for human interaction, openness to experience, cultural orientation, and intrinsic motivation. To validate direction for the survey, PwC conducted 20 in-depth interviews from June 4 to June 15, 2018.

To learn more about the survey, visit

Contact us

Katrina Najm

Health and Pharma, Workforce of the Future, Workplace Culture and Gig Economy, PwC US

Tel: +1 (201) 323 8960

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