The world is changing, fast, and with that comes a level of concern among employees that their skill sets or indeed their usefulness altogether may become outdated or redundant in the working environment as automated robotics and a plethora of new technologies become ever more prevalent in our daily lives.

This is according to a survey released earlier this month by online learning platform Udemy, which revealed that 52% of employees from a pool of 1,000 office workers feel more stressed today than they did a year ago, and emerging technologies in one form or another appear to be the primary cause. In fact, as many as 55% of respondents said they fear losing their jobs as a result of artificial intelligence and new technologies at some point during their career.

Adding to this concern is that fact that along with new technologies comes a whole new skill set to master in order to make proper use of that which is offered. With the rate of technological advancement continuing to increase so too is the rate at which these new skills must be adopted, and many fear falling behind the times.

Perhaps surprisingly given the nature of these concerns, it is actually the younger generation which is struggling most. Of those who reported feeling an uptick in stress at work a staggering 44% are millennials, who typically fare pretty well when it comes to technology having grown up in a world of constant developments. Gen-X workers and baby boomers are performing better, at 33% and 21% respectively.

The study’s authors said of the potential causation for these figures, “While workers of every generation report feeling more stressed today than they were a year ago, two-thirds of millennials say they are stressed at work most or all of the time. Perhaps that's because they have a longer career runway ahead and will be the ones on the front lines as artificial intelligence and automation become even greater threats to traditional employment.”

However it is not only technology and automation which are causing employees to stress and worry; more traditional woes also play their part. For example, bad managers and toxic working environments were frequently mentioned during the survey, along with outside stresses including the political climate, personal finances, and family issues.

Research into the matter indicated that the best way to alleviate some level of workplace stress is with the appointment of a supportive manager. Offering training courses to employees will also help to lessen the feeling of being left behind in terms of skill sets and technological knowledge.

“Free gym memberships and cool office decor don't contribute to employee retention, but having great managers does,” the study’s authors wrote. “If employers aren’t training on soft skills, they’re less likely to produce effective managers and prepare younger workers for those roles.”

If the provision of training courses is a route which you would like to explore, bear in mind that different generations generally have different preferences when it comes to methods of learning. Millennials, for example, tend to favour one-on-one coaching, while Gen X workers have a preference for on-demand learning and baby boomers sway towards a more traditional, classroom-based approach.


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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