One in four 'not performing their best'

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The number of UK employees who feel they are not performing their best at work is higher than the European average

One in four (27%) UK workers say they are not performing their best at work, according to Deloitte's first Voice of the workforce in Europe report. This compares to a European average of 21%.

With the UK struggling to address productivity in the workplace, Deloitte’s findings highlight that many lack enthusiasm for their roles. A third (32%) of UK workers said they are not stimulated by what they do and 36% said what they do is not meaningful. In comparison, just one in four European workers (24%) said they are not stimulated by what they do, and only 18% believe what they do is not meaningful.

The majority of workers in the UK said they need to learn new skills to do their job effectively. When asked which key skills they need to develop to remain employable, advanced IT was cited by 61%, followed by technical knowledge (57%). Further down the list, just 35% said problem-solving skills would be needed and 31% said they would need teamwork skills.

The research also found that UK workers were feeling the impact of automation. Forty-four per cent said that some of the tasks they did five years ago are now done by robots or software, compared to a European average of 38%. Meanwhile, 34% in the UK said that entire business processes relevant to their job have been automated over the past five years, compared to 30% overall for European workers.

Workers across Europe appear generally more relaxed about the future impact of automation. Regarding their own jobs and how they will evolve over the next 10 years, three-quarters (76%) said they only expect slow, small, or no change at all. In the UK four in five (83%) do not expect any major changes to their job over the next decade.

Anne-Marie Malley, partner and UK human capital leader at Deloitte, said that employers must offer more support to employees looking to boost their skillsets. “Businesses are facing an uphill struggle to address these factors, which is leading to dissatisfaction, disengagement and despondency among employees,” she said. “Employers must offer more support to strengthen their workers' skills and communicate the value their roles are bringing to their company, the economy and ultimately society as a whole.”

She added that businesses should start educating employees about the effects of AI on their jobs: “It’s striking that the vast majority of workers do not expect to see any significant changes in their jobs over the next decade. The reality is that the future of work is now, and automation is already affecting day-to-day roles.”

Raising awareness about automation will help workers to make the most of changes ahead, she said: “Awareness will provoke action, so it’s important for businesses to educate workers on how their roles will be augmented by technology over the next decade. This will provide transparency within organisations; allowing them to transition their workforces through training opportunities and bolstering the skills that will be required as a result of automation.”

Deloitte's research was based on responses from more than 15,000 people across 10 European countries, including 2,043 from the UK.

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