Nearly 1 in 5 Singapore employees fears losing jobs to automation

Office workers crossing the road in Central Business District (CBD).
Office workers crossing the road in Central Business District (CBD).PHOTO: FILE

SINGAPORE - Nearly one in five employees in Singapore fears that automation will take away their jobs, a survey by recruitment firm Randstad found.

The poll also showed that workers in Singapore (19 per cent) and Hong Kong (20 per cent) held the highest fears of losing their jobs to automation. Malaysian employees, on the other hand, were more relaxed with only 13 per cent fearing automation will hurt their job security.

About three in four, or 72 per cent, of Singapore employees were open to retraining for a new role - provided that their salaries would remain the same or higher than before. The remaining 8 per cent would rather move to another company than retrain.

Only 52 per cent of Hong Kongers were open to retraining in contrast to Singapore and Malaysian workers (70 per cent).

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Despite fears of automation taking jobs away, a large group of employees feel that automation will in fact make their jobs better.

Nearly half, or 45 per cent, of employees in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia felt this way, with Malaysian employees being the most optimistic (51 per cent) and Hong Kong employees the most pessimistic (39 per cent).

One third of all employees in each market felt indifference towards automation and stated that they felt it would have no effect on their jobs.

A further one in five stated that they could not imagine technology taking away their jobs.