Automation Has Transformed the Way We Work

Worker preparedness and consumer attitudes toward automation vary widely across countries

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Henri Wallard Deputy Chief Executive Officer, France
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Washington, DC - Global Citizens and Automation, a new report from Ipsos and the World Economic Forum, highlights how profoundly the work of men and women throughout the world is changing. The report provides an in-depth look at the attitudes of consumers as well as the experience and preparedness of workers across the globe regarding automation. It is based on the first installment of an Ipsos-World Economic Forum global tracking study on consumer acceptance of information technology. 


The Global Citizens and Automation survey was conducted in October and November 2018 among 18,813 adults from 26 countries on Ipsos’s Global Advisor online platform. Future waves of the global tracking study will be conducted and reported twice a year. 

Workers’ Experience with Automation Is Mostly Positive, But Many Fear It Puts Their Employment at Risk

Nearly half of workers globally (46%) say automation has made their job completely different from what it was ten years ago and tend to view the changes it brought upon in a positive way. 

  • Workers are much more likely to agree than disagree that automation has made their job easier (49% vs. 18%), improved the quality of their work (46% vs. 20%), reduced the risks of injury while working (42% vs. 20%) and made their job more interesting (40% vs. 23%).

However, many worry about their job security. Nearly as many workers agree that automation is putting their current employment at risk (30%) as disagree (35%).

  • Concern about automation jeopardizing one’s job is most prevalent among agricultural workers (38%) and those in administrative support services (37%) and least so among workers in the healthcare and social services sector (23%).

Workers Around the World Are Unevenly Prepared for Automation

Nearly two thirds of workers globally (64%) say their employer offers training to improve or update their own technical skills.

  • However, disparities across countries are steep. More than four in five of workers in India (91%), China (86%) and Peru (84%) report being offered training to help them improve or update their technical skills vs. fewer than half in Japan (28%), Russia (42%) and France (49%).

Automated Technologies Tend to Be Viewed Favorably

On average, 43% of adults worldwide look at seven automated technologies as having a positive impact on people’s lives vs. 30% having a neutral assessment and 19% a negative one.

  • A wide gap separates high-income countries from low-income countries when it comes to views about automation: on average, 64% in China and 62% in India rate the impact of automation technologies positively vs. just 22% in Germany and France and 23% in Belgium.

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos Global Advisor survey on attitudes toward data privacy in partnership with the World Economic Forum.  In total, 18,813 interviews were conducted October 26 – November 9, 2018 among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all 24 other countries.

The survey was conducted in 26 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. Note that some of the questions were not asked in all 26 countries.

Between 500 and 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel. The sample size is 1000+ in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United Stated of America. In all other countries the sample size is 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

In countries where internet penetration is approximately 60% or higher the data output generally reflects the overall population. Of the 26 countries surveyed online, 15 yield results that are balanced to reflect the general population: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain and the United States. The 11 remaining countries surveyed – Brazil, Chile, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey – have lower levels of internet connectivity and reflect online populations that tend to be more urban and have higher education/income than the general population.

Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Henri Wallard
Deputy CEO.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+33 1 41 98 90 15

Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 646 309-4879

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. Through our media partnerships, Ipsos Public Affairs is a leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and internationally. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Henri Wallard Deputy Chief Executive Officer, France

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