People are turning to robots to support their career development after the Covid-19 pandemic left them feeling lonely and disconnected from their own lives, according to a new study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, an HR research and advisory firm.

The study of more than 14,600 employees, managers, HR leaders, and C-level executives across 13 countries including the UAE found that people all around the world have felt stuck in their personal and professional lives but are ready to regain control of their futures.

More than a year in lockdown and the continued uncertainty due to the pandemic has left many workers in emotional turmoil, feeling like their lives and careers are out of control.

In the UAE, 91 per cent of people have been negatively impacted by the pandemic last year, with many struggling financially (42 per cent); suffering from declining mental health (26 per cent); lacking career motivation (26 per cent); and feeling disconnected from their own lives (22 per cent).

Seventy-seven per cent found 2021 to be the most stressful year at work ever. More than half (66 per cent) of people struggled with mental health at work more in 2021 than in 2020.

The amount of people who feel little to no control over their personal and professional lives doubled since the start of the pandemic. People noted they have lost control over their futures (57 per cent); personal lives (58 per cent); careers (52 per cent); and relationships (46 per cent).

Eighty-seven per cent of people feel stuck in their personal lives, feeling anxiety about their future (32 per cent); trapped in the same routine (30 per cent); and more loneliness than before (28 per cent).

Employees globally turn to tech to learn new skills

To retain and grow top talent amidst changing workplace dynamics, employers need to pay attention to employee needs more than ever before and leverage technology to provide better support.

In the UAE, 96 per cent of people want technology to help define their future by identifying skills they need to develop (42 per cent); recommending ways to learn new skills (42 per cent); and providing next steps to progress towards career goals (38 percent).

Eighty-seven percent of people would make life changes based on robot recommendations.

Ninety-one per cent believe robots can support their careers better than a human by giving unbiased recommendations (38 per cent); quickly answering questions about their career (39 per cent); or finding new jobs that fit their current skills (39 per cent).

People believe humans still have a critical role to play in career development and believe humans are better at providing support by offering advice based on personal experience (49 per cent); identifying strengths and weaknesses (47 per cent); and looking beyond a resume to recommend roles that fit their personalities (41 per cent).

Ninety-four per cent of people believe their company should be doing more to listen to their needs while 74 per cent are more likely to stay with a company that uses advanced technologies like AI to support career growth.

“The past year and a half changed how we work including where we work and, for a lot of people, who we work for. While there have been a lot of challenges for both employees and employers, this has been an opportunity to change the workplace for the better,” said Dan Schawbel, managing partner, Workplace Intelligence.

“The results clearly show that investment in skills and career development is now a key differentiator for employers as it plays a significant role in employees feeling like they have control over their personal and professional lives. Businesses that invest in their employees and help them find opportunities will reap the benefits of a productive, engaged workforce.”


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