Over 50% of APAC tech professionals expect their job to be automated within ten years: Survey 2017

  • Continual skills development seen as the key to career success
  • The biggest technology growth area is expected to be artificial intelligence


Over 50% of APAC tech professionals expect their job to be automated within ten years: Survey 2017


SIXTY-two percent of technology professionals in APAC believe a significant part of their job will be automated within ten years, rendering their current skills redundant (compared to 45% globally).

The change in technology is so rapid that 87% believe their career would be severely limited if they didn’t teach themselves new technical skills.

This is according to the Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2017, representing the views of more than 3,200 technology professionals from 84 countries.

The possibility of automation varies greatly with job role, with testers and IT operations professionals most likely to expect their job role to be significantly affected in the next decade (67% and 63% respectively), and CIO/VP IT and programme management least affected (31% and 30% respectively).

Richard Goddard, MD, South East Asia, and head of the Technology Practice, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC, commented: “Through automation, it is possible that ten years from now the technology function will be unrecognisable in today’s terms. Even for those roles relatively unaffected by automation, there is a major indirect effect - as up to half of their colleagues may be machines by 2027.”

In response to automation, technology professionals are prioritising learning over any other career development tactic. Self-learning is significantly more important to them than formal training or qualifications.

Despite the increase in automation, the survey reveals that technology professionals remain in high demand as the technology landscape evolves - software engineers and developers were most in demand, followed by those in analytics / big data roles. 

Respondents expect the most important technologies in the next five years to be robotics, augmented / virtual reality, artificial intelligence and wearable tech, as well as big data, cloud and the Internet of Things.  Unsurprisingly these are also the key areas that were cited as ‘hot skills to learn’.

Kirti Lad, director of the Technology Practice, Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC, commented: “The Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2017 highlights the state of flux technology careers currently face. On one side, technology is ‘eating itself’, with job roles increasingly being commoditised and automated.  On the other, new opportunities are being created, especially within the areas of artificial intelligence, big data and automation.

“In this rapidly changing world the winners will be the technology professionals who take responsibility for their own skills development, and continually ask: ‘where am I adding value that no other person – or machine – can add?’”

Key global highlights from the Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2017:

  • AI growth: The biggest technology growth area is expected to be artificial intelligence, which 89% of respondents (84% in APAC) expect it to be important to their company in five years’ time, almost four times the current figure – 24% (31% in APAC).
  • Big Data’s big, but still unproven. 57% of organisations globally (62% in APAC) are implementing Big Data at least to some extent. For many, it is moving away from being an ‘experiment’ into something much more core to their business; 21% say they are using it in a ‘strategic way’. Only three in ten organisations with a Big Data strategy are reporting success to date.
  • Immigration is key to the tech industry, and Brexit is a concern. The sector is overwhelmingly in favour of immigration; 73% believe it is critical to their country’s competitiveness (83% in APAC).  Thirty-three percent of respondents to the Harvey Nash Technology Survey were born outside the country in which they are currently working. Almost four in ten tech immigrants in the UK are from Europe, equating to one in ten of the entire tech working population in the UK. Moreover, UK workers make up at least a fifth the tech immigrant workforce of Ireland and Germany.
  • Where are all the women? This year’s report reveals that 16% of respondents are women (14% in APAC); not very different from the 13% who responded in 2013. The pace of change is glacial and – at this rate – it will take decades before parity is reached.
  • The tech community does not trust the cloud. Four out of ten respondents have little or no trust in how cloud companies are using their personal data, whilst a further five out of ten still have concerns despite placing their trust in these companies. Trust in cloud is affected by age (the older you are the less you trust), location and job title. Male architects, who are 30 years old or more from North America working in government are the least trusting.

For the latest insights from the Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2017 please visit: www.harveynash.com/techsurvey/.

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Robotic process automation beneficial – only if done right


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