In today’s ever-changing and evolving business landscape, every workplace needs to adapt to major digital and technological transformation if it wants to remain competitive.

Workplace automation and digitisation are often thought of as a negative occurrence, as for some it is synonymous with job losses. However, our research has found that not only are there numerous benefits brought about by new technologies, but also more jobs are expected to be created than replaced by digitisation and automation.  

The rise of digitisation – advantages within the workplace

To better understand the implications of new technologies in the workplace, Robert Half regularly conducts independent research, surveying leaders within the finance sector.

Our most recent survey, which asked specific questions around the implementation of digitisation, shows most CFOs agree that new technologies will have a positive impact on the team dynamics of their finance department.

In particular, 70% say it will increase collaboration and 57% say there has been an increase in effective communication within their teams. Digitisation has also been cited to enhance innovation (54%) and team spirit (53%).  

More jobs to be created than replaced by digitisation

While several functions within finance departments are already automated or are expected to be automated within the next three years, almost half (46%) of Australian CFOs are planning to expand their permanent financial headcount to help implement their company’s digitisation and automation efforts.

Further, more than one in three (36%) are planning to create new roles for temporary or contract professionals.

These statistics further emphasise that increased digitisation and automation within Australian workplaces is not about destroying jobs, but rather, adapting to change – which in turn leads to new opportunities.

This is because modern-day businesses require diverse skill sets, resources and assets to help them respond quickly and flexibly to challenges.   Australian companies should embrace digitisation as it will lead to faster decision making, better collaboration and innovation among teams and reduce the risk of errors. These benefits are available to those companies who welcome workplace automation rather than resist it.  

Skills transition needed to manage change

In terms of job loss, most (86%) of CFOs agree workplace automation does not imply a reduction in finance employees in their team, but rather, it requires a shift in the necessary skills.

Australia’s finance leaders are also in agreement that the top characteristics that have become most important for finance professionals within their organisation as a result of digitisation are flexibility, communication and an ability to influence ideas.

Demand for skilled finance professionals equipped with these professional characteristics will only grow as Australian companies continue to implement digitisation and adopt new technologies within the workplace.

With the impact of disruptive technology set to change the face of the modern workplace, no industry will be the same in 10 years’ time. Managing this change needs to be part of an integrated approach to adopting digitisation that includes a permanent and flexible workforce adept in digitisation processes, as well as the proper investment in employee training to ensure staff are equipped with the skills of the future.