10 Workplace Automation Statistics and Trends for 2023
The need for greater efficiency in the workplace is driving a transition toward automation. With artificial intelligence, deep learning algorithms, and machine learning, workplace automation is increasing in a number of industries. This is affecting jobs on a global scale.
Here are 10 workplace automation stats that will give you a better idea of how disruptive these technologies are for the job market.
What Is Workplace Automation?
Today, automation is more than just robots and machinery replacing manual labor and taking over tedious, repetitive tasks. It has evolved to include data analysis, coding, and other technical aspects, affecting white-collar jobs as well.
For most companies, the first phase of workplace automation frees process workflows from repetitive steps, redundancies, and bottlenecks. Once that’s achieved, the focus is to reduce human error and speed up processes. This is done using AI-powered tools and software.
Automation has become an essential tool in the digital transformation of the business world. And it will be required for companies to stay competitive.
Here’s an infographic that further explains workplace automation and how it’s affecting industries today (click to see full image):
1. By 2025, workplace automation will disrupt a total of 85 million jobs globally in at least 15 industries, dividing work by humans and automation almost equally (Source)
Every major industry has seen some sort of workplace automation in the past decade. This will likely increase with the rise of the so-called Robot Revolution.
The report by the World Economic Forum projects that two years from now, work will be nearly equally divided between humans and machines. According to their projections, humans will do 53% of work. Meanwhile, machines will be doing 47% of work. This will be a significant change from 2020. Just three years ago, humans did 67% of work and machines did 33%.
Some major industries are at the forefront of this disruption. Healthcare, transportation, agriculture, data entry, accounting, and others rely heavily on administrative tasks and routine manual jobs.
To remain competitive in the market, businesses will need to change their current working models. They will have to infuse automation, digitization, virtualization, and dematerialization. And for all these, their workforce will be required to reskill.
These techniques will lower production costs and other variable expenses, giving companies an edge to survive. Businesses resisting these techniques will be in danger of complete elimination.
For job seekers, skills like analytical thinking, creativity, social interaction abilities, and emotional quotient competence will be role deciders.
Data analysis, AI, content creation, and cloud computing are some of the top careers to look out for.
2. 80% of business executives actively intend workplace automation to eliminate redundant work processes while deploying new technologies (Source)
The World Economic Forum expects 50% of employers to soon automate some roles within their companies in the wake of COVID-19. Their report states that 43% of businesses are working to reduce their workforce through technological integration.
For example, interactive digital signage and kiosks are reducing the need for in-store associates and information desks. And movie tickets can be purchased at the press of a few buttons rather than interacting with a human at the box office.
Incorporating machines and robots enables higher profits for businesses. Workplace automation results in less need for labor, resulting in dual advantages for the executives and owners.
Unskilled workers, who are mainly in production and clerical departments, remain at the forefront of layoffs. Machines easily substitute their work. For example, a robot can handle an assembly line alone, eliminating the need for production floor employees.
Even experts like health care workers, lawyers, accountants, finance specialists, and many other similar professionals are facing competition with new technologies.
Although they are not currently at great risk of termination, their wages are reducing significantly.
Modern machines can handle mechanical and even hand-operated tasks. And they can perform better, faster, and with less irregularity compared to skilled humans.
U.S. workers have been feeling the effects of workplace automation for the past three decades. An MIT economist co-authored a study that shows the bigger picture of how automation is affecting jobs. From 1990 to 2007, one robot per 1,000 workers reduced the employment-to-population ratio by 0.2% nationwide. And some areas of the country saw significantly stronger effects, with more workers losing their jobs.
For each robot added in manufacturing, an average of 3.3 workers lost their jobs nationally.
The introduction of robots also affected wages. The workforce saw an approximately 0.4% reduction in wages over the course of those years.
Workers feeling the pinch of an increasing workplace automation is nothing new. And as industries transition to further automation in coming years, these effects will be felt more strongly.
3. The global AI market is worth $136.6 billion and is expected to reach $1,811.8 billion by 2030 (Source)
The average CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for the global AI market is 38.1%. However, that can be further accelerated as new tech and more advanced AI software roll out.
Big firms and corporate giants are heavily investing in and partnering up with AI firms. They are developing enhanced AI algorithms for enterprise automation and to increase productivity and quality.
For example, Microsoft has completed the acquisition of Nuance Communications, a highly successful firm in conversational AI innovations. Microsoft also announced plans to invest $1 billion USD in OpenAI, the firm that modeled ChatGPT.
Partnering with these two AI firms is a step toward expanding Microsoft’s reach in different sectors of the economy.
Multinational corporations are not the only ones affecting the rise of the global AI market. Other verticals assisting its growth include smaller national and local organizations, and even retail. For example, interactive kiosks are becoming common. We are seeing their distribution across several economy sectors — prominently healthcare, food and beverages, logistics, and automotive.
4. By 2025, 65% of contact centers are expected to use virtual reality to engage with customers (Source)
Virtual reality (VR) is emerging as the future of customer service. With the metaverse, Meta opened up an entirely new way of interacting with existing and potential customers.
VR offers an immersive experience to buyers where they can fully engage with the products and services. On top of that, it facilitates a personalized experience that enables them to feel better connected with their purchase.
Satisfying customers’ wishes and needs leads to trust-building and long-term association. And for this reason, many big brands are opting for VR to engage with buyers.
For example, Ikea Place allows consumers to virtually “place” furnishings in 3D. They can see exactly how furnishings would fit, look, and function in the space before making a purchase. These include lamps, sofas, rugs, tables, and other items.
5. 50% of restaurant operators plan to implement workplace automation in their daily workflows (Source)
The hospitality industry is preparing to adopt automation technology in its daily workflows.
Cooks, chefs, and waiters may be replaced in several processes. These include food preparation, ordering and paying, menu selection, and scheduling reservations.
The process also includes automatic chat responses on social media to help manage the customer experience.
Robotic chefs can now prepare, garnish, and serve food.
Insider Tech posted a video on YouTube about Moley Robotics. The company has created a robot chef that can imitate a human chef’s exact motions and is as fast as a human. It can be operated from a smartphone and even cleans up after itself.
6. Experts expect surgical robots to cause a 2% decline in surgeon jobs between 2019 and 2029 (Source)
Surgical robots are replacing nurses and taking over the nonroutine manual tasks of medical staff.
The Mayo Clinic reports that these robots make it possible for doctors to perform a variety of complex procedures with increased precision, flexibility, and control.
Today, experienced surgeons can operate robots for long-distance surgery. These surgeon robots can take the place of their human counterparts when they can’t be physically present.
For example, the da Vinci Xi by Intuitive is the latest breakthrough in robotic machines using artificial intelligence. It gives surgeons, physicians, and medical specialists the most advanced assisted technology to perform procedures and deliver quality surgical care.
The machine can read a surgeon’s hand movements and bend and rotate instruments accordingly. And it’s much quicker and has greater precision than human hands.
7. AI can spot 5% more cancers and 11% more false positives than experienced radiologists (Source)
A study conducted by Nature Medicine using a Google algorithm found that their model performed better than the six participating radiologists.
Today, a wide majority of people with cancer remain undiagnosed because of a lack of screening options, which cost a significant amount of money.
But with deep learning and machine learning, AI is getting better at image recognition and can detect the most minuscule changes in physiology.
Computer-assisted imaging processes not only optimize screening but also increase the accuracy of diagnosis, outperforming doctors and radiologists.
8. A 20% decline in translation and interpretation jobs is expected between 2019 and 2029 as AI-powered translation software becomes commonplace (Source)
Automation is affecting translation and interpretation jobs the most. We will likely see this trend continue in the coming years.
Advances in neural networks and machine learning have significantly improved speech recognition, speech synthesis, and language processing techniques. This has led to the development of modern virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. These are some of the most commonly used and widely accessible AI tools.
Automated text generation and translation tools can proficiently perform writing and translation tasks. Although most people have considered these to be distinctive human actions, AI is accelerating content production.
Popular AI writing assistants like Google Translate, Grammarly, and Jasper provide faster content generation for all forms of compositions. This includes articles, blog posts, social media posts, and even resumes and business portfolios.
In March 2021, Google Translate reached one billion downloads! Over the past 11 years, it has emerged as one of the most successful AI writing and translation apps. It has now become commonplace for writers, influencers, and businesses.
9. By 2040, lab-grown meat may account for 1/3 of all U.S. meat consumption, causing ripples in the cattle and plant-based alternatives industries (Source)
Over the past two decades, complex farming machinery has brought significant automation to the agricultural industry. Today it is possible to grow consumable meat by harvesting the cells of an animal in a lab.
Although lab-grown meat is not yet available in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has approved it as safe. This certification came in November 2022 and it will likely be a game changer in the multi-billion dollar cattle and plant-based food enterprise.
Advocates of lab-grown meat say consumers will eventually have the option to eat cleaner meat that won’t require animals to be raised and butchered.
They also consider lab-grown meat to be healthier for human consumption than traditional meat. This is because in a controlled facility it’s possible to restrict the quantities of fat and cholesterol in the meat, and organic supplements can be infused into each cut.
As cultured meat is grown in large quantities, it will adversely affect animal farming industries. According to The Human League, it’s possible to produce 175 million quarter-pounders from cells taken from a single cow. At the average factory farm, 440,000 cows would have to be raised and killed to produce the same number of hamburgers.
10. There is a $190 billion market opportunity with virtual goods as fashion brands experiment with D2A strategies through digital storefronts (Source)
Today, direct-to-avatar (D2A) strategies allow fashion and retail brands to sell virtual products directly to consumers. Their virtual avatars can wear these items in open-world digital environments, like the metaverse. As a result, people are spending billions of dollars each month on digital identities.
High-end fashion brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton have already partnered with developers to design computer-simulated games, allowing the players or avatars to purchase exclusive outfits. Some of these outfits cost hundreds of dollars.
Direct-to-avatar is a new parallel economy that will not restrict itself to gaming and fashion sectors.
As the metaverse develops, it may become a global utility, becoming a computer-controlled virtual world where users can play, learn, create, and express themselves.
This will have wide implications in education and other economic verticals centered on human intelligence and emotions.
Research suggests that by 2026, a quarter of the world’s population will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse. There, they will work, shop, learn, socialize, and pursue entertainment options.
As the world becomes more automated and digitized, the trends we’re seeing today point to how our lives will change, both in the workplace and in our personal lives. As new technologies develop and become mainstream, workplace automation will likely affect everyone in the workforce — significantly changing their jobs if not eliminating them completely.