Every time we think we’ve got a handle on automation, new statistics emerge to challenge our perception. Just this month, McKinsey released a new report about the future of women at work, saying that an estimated 40 to 160 million women around the world will need to transition their skills.
But the report also pointed out that both men and women will be similarly affected by automation, just in different areas. Without a doubt, the effects of automated processes will be felt in every sector across all roles.
To understand the scale and importance of automation in the workplace, take a look at some of these key statistics.
Workforce & Skills
1. According to a McKinsey report, 45% of current paid activities can be automated by today’s technology, an equivalent of $2 trillion in total annual wages.
2. 7 to 24% of currently employed women and 8 to 28% of men may need to transition into different skill sets due to shifts in labor demands caused by automation.
3. When McKinsey surveyed 1500 executives across all industries and regions, 66% responded that “addressing potential skills gaps related to automation/digitization” was a top-ten priority. Almost 30% put it in their top five priorities.
4. According to research by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), average daily mentions of robots and jobs have increased 70% year-over-year. But most mentions are positive rather than negative.
5. Of these positive sentiments, the most popular reasons for endorsing automation were saving time (30%) and big data analysis (25%).
Time Management & Productivity
6. A study by Unit 4 revealed that globally, office workers spend 69 days a year on administrative tasks, costing companies $5 trillion a year.
7. In the same study, 67% of respondents said implementing digital or software solutions would be important to remain competitive.
8. Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking can be counterproductive and costs companies 40% of lost productivity simply due to constant task-switching.
9. Professionals take 18 minutes on average to locate a document manually––20% to 40% of their time––and spend 50% of their time searching for information.
AI & Machine Learning
10. The growth in machine learning is accelerating. The market is predicted to reach $15.3 billion by 2019, with an average annual growth rate of 19.7%.
11. The artificial intelligence market is expected to be worth $16.06 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 62.9% from 2016 to 2022.
12. Predictive analytics software will be a big early-growth category for machine-learning applications. It’s expected to reach $6.5 billion worldwide in 2019, up from $2 billion in 2012.
13. According to research by MIT and the Boston Consulting Group, 84% of executives and analysts around the world say AI will enable them to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
16. According to a study by the PwC, 54% of executives say AI solutions implemented in their businesses have already increased productivity.
17. 65% of workers view AI as something that would free employees from menial tasks.
18. 72% of decision-makers say AI will enable humans to focus on more meaningful work.
19. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals is expected to be the largest industry in the business workflow automation market. By the end of 2026, automation in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry is estimated to generate a revenue of more than US$ 900 million.
20. Small and medium enterprises are expected to adopt business workflow automation on a large scale, creating a market of opportunity of more than US$ 1,600 million between 2017-2026.
21. CEOs spend almost 20% of their time on work that could be automated, such as analyzing operational data and reviewing status reports.
22. When it comes to business processes, 60% of occupations could save 30% of their time with automation. Some of these tasks that could save time include generating sales leads, approving paperwork, and processing documents.
23. Market research firm IDC says that organizations lose 20 to 30% of revenue every year due to inefficient processes.
25. 95% of businesses need to manage unstructured data––40% need to do so on a regular basis. Most companies are looking to expand their big data analytics investments.
26. Businesses that adopted big data reduced overall costs by 10% and increased overall profits by 8%, helping them to retain a competitive edge.
27. 45% of companies using big data operate at least part of the data on the cloud. In fact, it’s estimated that 67% of enterprise infrastructure will be cloud-based by the end of 2020.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
28. According to Forrester, the RPA industry will grow at an exponential rate from $250 million in 2016 to $2.9 billion in 2021.
29. Deloitte’s survey revealed that 53% of respondents have already started their RPA journey, with an expected increase to 72% in the next two years.
30. If the growth rate continues at this pace, RPA will have achieved “near-universal adoption” in the next five years.
31. RPA adoption leads to clear benefits, with payback taking an average of less than 12 months. Robots produce on average 20% of full-time equivalent (FTE) capacity in that time.
32. The areas where RPA continues to exceed expectations include: improved compliance (92%), improved quality / accuracy (90%), improved productivity (86%), cost reduction (59%).
33. Of those who have already implemented RPA in their businesses, 78% expect to “significantly increase” investment in the next three years.
34. 43% of recruiters in the U.S. think that AI will help their jobs, not harm them. 7% think it’ll make things worse.
35. 58% of organizations say their onboarding program is focused on processes and paperwork, rather than on people and performance.
36. Of those 21% said their onboarding process and paperwork was inconsistent, informal, or reactive.
37. HR professionals feel that lack of technology hinders their work. 36% responded that their inability to automated and organize the onboarding process negatively impacts their ability to train managers.
38. 76% of recruiters and hiring managers say AI will be at least somewhat significant in the years to come.
39. The biggest benefits of AI in hiring are saving time (76%), removing human bias (43%), delivering best candidate matches (31%), and saving money (30%).
40. The marketing automation industry is growing by 30% each year in the U.S.
41. Approximately 49% of companies are currently using marketing automation, and more than half of B2B companies (55%) have already adopted the technology.
42. Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.
43. 88% of marketers said that reducing the time spent on preparing reports and analysis, giving them more time for strategy and focusing on customer interactions, would be valuable.
44. Marketing automation delivers. 80% of users said their leads increased, and 77% said their conversion increased.
Customer Service Automation
45. If you’re known for good customer service, you can charge more. In fact, 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
46. 73% of Customer Support professionals said that managing time and workload was the biggest issue faced in customer support.
47. According to some estimates, 85% of customer service interactions will be automated by 2020.
48. A survey by AMEX revealed that more than 6 in 10 US consumers prefer an automated self-service, such as a website (24%), mobile app (14%), voice response system (13%) or online chat (12%) for simple customer service tasks.
49. Customer service expectations have changed along with automated processes. In a survey by Microsoft, 72% of respondents said they expected agents to know their profile and purchase history.
51. Chatbots are growing increasingly popular. 30% of respondents rated chatbot interactions as “very effective” in dealing with customer service issues.
Clearly, automation is here to stay. To be sure, numbers don’t always tell the complete story but these stats confirm what we all know – everyone from individuals to small business to the largest organizations must accept the inevitability of automation and prepare themselves to benefit from it.
We’ll keep updating this page as new information becomes available.