Finance workers view automation as threat

Robot handshake
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

25 October 2016

Nearly half of financial services workers feel that technology is putting their jobs at risk, according to a survey by Emolument.com.

The salary-benchmarking site asked 900 professionals across the world and professional spectrum if they considered their job to be threatened by technological improvements.

Financial services workers were revealed to be the most concerned about the risk, with compliance, finance control and professional services employees also appearing in the top five.

Advances in technology have allowed the automation of repetitive processes, such as trading algorithms, in many industries. Machine learning and automated trading platforms are often singled out as being responsible for thousands of job cuts in the financial services sector.


'Is technology putting your job at risk?' - Results by sector

SectorYesNo
Financial services47%53%
Compliance37%63%
Sales33%67%
Finance control29%71%
Professional services24%76%

Research by Deloitte earlier this year, predicted that a million business services jobs in the UK are at high risk of automation and accountants have also been shown to fear the worst.

The survey from Emolument.com also revealed that a high proportion of employees in Singapore, India and Switzerland are expecting to be replaced by robots in the near future.

In the case of the Singaporean and Swiss employees surveyed, the majority of those concerned come from the finance sector.

There is debate about whether automation is a good or a bad thing. PwC economists have argued that automation within high skill level jobs is unlikely to cause massive displacement as these processes would instead complement human workers and free up time from menial tasks.

Barret Kupelian, Senior Economist at PwC, said: “Technological breakthroughs are a disrupting force for businesses and workers.

"But for those businesses that can adapt fastest to new technologies, and for workers with characteristics that machines don’t currently have  - such as creativity and empathy – improvements in technology could deliver substantial gains."

In many consumer services sectors, for example, where human contact and care is of central importance, there is less scope for robots to replace humans.


'Is technology putting your job at risk?' - Results by country

CountryYesNo
Singapore49%51%
India48%52%
Switzerland44%56%
Hong Kong32%68%
USA30%70%

Conversely, as outsourcing is often seen as a stepping stone to automation, employees in the outsourcing hub of India are shown by the survey to be keenly aware of the threat automation poses.

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder and COO at Emolument.com, said: "Long gone are the days when banks used to hire a majority of humanities graduates.

"Jobs in the financial sector are becoming more and more technical: Employees are expected to control or at least understand the technological automated processes necessary to fulfilling their professional tasks.

"While some functions still require a human touch, none are unscathed with even sales jobs are being obliterated by efficient machines."

Source: Emolument.com


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Topics

  • Technology
  • Business

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