Responses from office workers in one recent global survey seem to indicate so, with parallel sentiments from business leaders.

In a Feb 2022 annual global survey of more than 5,000 C-level and senior management executives in organizations with more than 1,000 employees across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, India, Australia, and Singapore—regarding investments in automation to attract and retain talent amid the Great Resignation—one finding was that monotonous tasks were amplifying employee unhappiness and uncertainty, and that new processes and automation technologies could address such concerns.

Some findings in the survey relevant to the Asia Pacific region (Australia, India and Singapore) included:

  • 70% of India respondents (office workers) indicated feeling increased pressure at work due to coworkers resigning in the past year, the highest in any region polled. For Australia, the figure was 56%, and in Singapore, 66%.
  • 79%, 85% and 86% of respondents (India, Australia, Singapore respectively) reported that they had taken on up to six new tasks/responsibilities outside of their job description due to coworkers resigning.
  • 74%, 56% and 69% of respondents (India, Australia, Singapore respectively) had indicated they “strongly” or “somewhat agreed” that they did not even know what their responsibilities were anymore because things at work had changed so much since their coworkers quit
  • 73%, 52% and 61% (India, Australia, Singapore) of respondents (office workers) had indicated they “strongly” or “somewhat agreed” that the majority of their work day was eaten up by monotonous tasks that could be have been automated
  • 86%, 37% and 54% of respondents reported that their organizations offered employees access to AI or automation tools, the highest in any region polled. Australia’s responses about access to AI/automation were the lowest in any region polled.
  • Respondents in India were the most likely to believe utilizing automation tools could increase efficiencies (57%)
  • 85% of India’s respondents (office workers) felt they could do more creative and less mundane work with the help of automation. In Singapore, the figure was 76% of respondents. In Australia, respondents (office workers), 67% felt they could do more creative and less mundane work with the help of automation to boost job performance in:
    • time savings (61%)
    • increased productivity (52%)
    • opportunities to focus on more important work (45%)
  • 91%, 70% and 77% of respondents (India, Australia, Singapore respectively) agreed to prompts that automation could help their organization attract and retain talent, the highest in any region polled
  • In Singapore, 48% of respondents indicated they were “very interested” or “somewhat interested” in quitting their job within the next six months; 32% reported currently applying for another job

General summary

The survey, commissioned by UiPath, led to some generalizations:

  • Office workers polled were feeling increased pressure at work because their colleagues had quit within the past year, with a high percentage having had to take on up to six new tasks outside of their job descriptions and even not knowing what their responsibilities were anymore.
  • Office workers surveyed were motivated to seek a new position due to increased pressure on work/life balance, lack of employee recognition, and spending too much time on administrative tasks.
  • A high percentage of respondents had indicated that they felt exhausted at the end of a work day at least one day per week, frustrated by mundane tasks such as responding to emails, scheduling calls and meetings, and inputting data/creating datasets.
  • Many respondents believed automation can improve their job performance, by saving time, increasing productivity, and creating opportunities to focus on more important work and creative work.
  • For business leaders in the survey, incorporating automation—including training on automation—could help attract new and retain existing talent in their organizations.

According to the firm’s Senior Vice-President and Managing Director (Asia Pacific), Rick Harshman: “Businesses (in the region) must innovate and transform with a long term view as the war of talent continues to intensify in the tightening labor markets. In 2022, businesses must adopt technologies like automation to ensure that they can retain and attract workers. By freeing workers’ time and maximizing their job satisfaction, businesses can gain a competitive edge with the aid of emerging technology, which is now a business imperative.”