Two thirds of business leaders think technology will create more value in the future than people

 
Rebecca Smith
Looks nice enough but this little chap could condemn humans to irrelevancy in the workplace apparently
Looks nice enough but this little chap could condemn humans to irrelevancy in the workplace apparently (Source: Getty)

Feeling a little undervalued and overlooked at work? Well, look away now.

Some new research from Korn Ferry is unlikely to make you feel much better. A study of 800 global business leaders found that over two thirds think technology will create greater value in the future than people will. Ouch.

And 44 per cent would go so far as saying the emergence of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will make people "largely irrelevant" in the future of work. Double ouch. You may have thought your boss underrated you a bit, but irrelevant?!

Read more: Robots, AI and digital disruption are coming to the hedge fund industry

With that in mind, it's not surprising that 63 per cent felt that in five years, technology will be the company's greatest source of competitive advantage. When asked to rank what their organisation's top five assets will be five years from now, the firm's talent didn't even make the cut.

Businesses' top five assets in five years:

  1. Technology
  2. R&D
  3. Product or service
  4. Brand
  5. Real estate, from offices to factories to land

The chief executives who took part said tech was becoming so central to their thinking that it occupied 40-60 per cent of their priorities on strategic focus and financial investment. And it seems they're getting encouragement: 40 per cent said they had experienced shareholder pressure to direct investment toward tangible assets like technology.

Read more: Former Barclays boss says technology is the key to scandal-free banking

On the plus side for British workers: apparently chief executives in the UK place a high emphasis on workforce and a good workplace culture. Matt Crosby, senior client partner at Korn Ferry Hay Group said: "This reflects the big footprint of established high value services industries, including the financial services sector."

In Australia and China, technology was found to impact decision-making to a greater extent.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicted that expanded automation and AI would mark the fourth industrial revolution, which could lead to the biggest upheaval in the labour market in a century.

And the Bank of England's chief economist Andy Haldane has hypothesised that 15m jobs could be automated.

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