Despite fears surrounding workplace automation, a third of UK employees (34%) believe a robot would be better at decision making than their current boss.

65% also say they would be happy to work alongside robotic technology, if it would reduce the prevalence of repetitive manual task.

This is according to the newly published Advanced Trends Report 2018/19, which surveyed over 1,000 professionals at UK organisations.

It follows last year’s report, where 31% expressed no confidence in the leaders of their company’s ability to adopt new technology.

Could leaders become victims of workplace automation?

While many of us seem to like the idea of our bosses being replaced by a robot, this is unfortunately unlikely to happen any time soon.

“Disruptive technology is encouraging us to look afresh at all aspects of business,” said Gordon Wilson, CEO at Advanced.

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“While robots are unlikely to take on the job of decision maker – the reality is that they are simply not yet suited to such complex tasks and will instead work side-by-side with humans – our findings suggest that employees are dissatisfied with their current leadership, want to get rid of arbitrary decision making and are starting to challenge the norms.

“Leaders need to step up, to provide the clear direction that people need and take charge of the intense technology change happening as a result of the digital era.”

Automation on the rise

The survey also showed that automation is becoming a reality for many British workers.

72% have already adopted automation technologies, although at present these are for the most part very basic.

There is also a clear appetite for more technology at work.

35% want to see artificial intelligence (AI) become a regular part of their daily working lives, while 32% want to make use of business intelligence, and 31% are keen to gain access to predictive analytics.

A significant minority also want to see greater access of internet of things technology (26%), chatbots (19%) and robotic process automation (RPA) (18%).

For employers, there is a clear need to look at how technology can assist workers.

“Bosses need to decide who in the business is best placed to drive a change in culture, and support all employees in any technology transition. This means helping staff understand how technology will enable them to focus on higher value roles – be it through reskilling and training – and how AI and RPA will positively impact their productivity and job satisfaction,” said Wilson.

“Ultimately, technology fundamentally can change the makeup of the workforce, which is why creating an open and collaborative culture is so critical. New candidates in entry-level roles working on the ground are likely to be more digitally-savvy so would make great ambassadors to drive change and ensure innovation happens.

“As a result, businesses will see more people embracing digital transformation and placing confidence in their leadership to take them forward.”