Adobe Research: Australian and New Zealand businesses are behind when it comes to leveraging technology

The Future of Work: Employees at technology focused businesses are out-performing competitors; Millennials spark creativity and drive innovation

Adobe has released new research revealing that more than 50 percent of office workers in Asia Pacific (APAC) rate access to cutting-edge technology in the workplace, above perks like food and slick office design. “The Future of Work: APAC Study” engaged almost 5,000 office workers from 10 countries across the region and examined how the roles of people, experiences and machines are transforming workplaces.

Workplace technology key to market success

Along with highlighting the critical role of technology in building positive employee experiences, the survey indicated that organisations investing in workplace technology are more likely to be successful in the APAC market. The survey found 89 percent of employees who rate their companies as above-average business performers also believe their companies are technology-focused (compared to 64 percent for those who said their company is a below-average perform­­­er.) In fact, employees of successful businesses are over two times more likely to rate their organisation as ’extremely focused’ on technology, when compared to those who rate their companies as below-average performing businesses.

While technology was cited as a top priority for APAC professionals, the survey found that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of Australian & New Zealand (ANZ) businesses are only somewhat or not at all focused on leveraging technology to enable productivity and better employee experiences. Furthermore, less than 1 in 5 (16 percent) of ANZ professionals see technology as an enabler of automating menial tasks to save time. This is less than the APAC average (23 percent), indicating that ANZ professionals are behind when it comes to recognising the full potential of technology to overcome business challenges.

“In the current Experience Business era, smart organisations are realising that outstanding customer experiences hinge on their ability to attract the best people. As a result, businesses today must strategically invest in workplace technologies to drive productivity and deliver a compelling experience for employees,” said Mark Henley, Director of Transformation and Digital Strategy at Adobe, Asia Pacific.

Man vs machine

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped automate an increasing number of work functions that are changing the productivity paradigm. While nearly 1 in 3 (34 percent) ANZ professionals said they are anxious about the impact of these new technologies on their jobs, they are significantly more optimistic about these technologies compared to their APAC counterparts – nearly three quarters (73 percent) of APAC professionals saying they are somewhat or extremely concerned about the impact of new technologies.

Nearly all respondents across APAC (94 percent) did however, express interest in trying artificial intelligence technologies to automate mundane work-related tasks.

Millennials Drive Innovation

While technology spearheads innovation at workplaces, young workers are also driving positive transformation across organisations. Respondents stated that sparking creative thinking and innovative projects, creating diverse and open-minded environments, and propagating social media use and engagement are top ways younger workers are driving change.

“Millennials comprise a significant proportion of the total workforce in APAC and are changing workplaces across the region. These discerning new age workers are not only leading the innovation charter at companies, but most importantly, becoming the torchbearers of diversity and use of technology at work,” added Henley.

Enabling work-life balance in mega-cities

The survey found that technology is critical to enabling work-life balance for office workers across APAC. Nearly two in three (62 percent of) office workers surveyed were based in major metropolitan cities, with populations of more than 5 million. Almost two-thirds of these office workers rated the wide availability of job opportunities, lifestyle choices, and infrastructural facilities as top reasons behind choosing to live in the region’s major cities.

These respondents cited crowded public transport and long travel times for short distances as their biggest pain points from working in a big city. They picked 24×7 availability and the ability to work across all their devices, as the most important ways by which technology can accelerate their productivity.

“Rapid economic evolution and unprecedented growth opportunities have positioned APAC at centre stage of the disruption being created by digital technologies. On one hand, the workforce is seeing tremendous opportunities for career advancement, and on the other, facing challenges emerging from widespread urbanisation across its major cities,” said Henley.

Other key findings from The Future of Work: APAC Study include:

  • For the love of work – Nearly 95 percent of respondents across APAC would continue to work even if they won the lottery, and almost 55 percent would continue in the same job. In contrast, only 39 percent of office workers in China would continue their current jobs even if they won the lottery, and 56 percent of respondents in China said they would use the lottery money to pursue their dream careers.
  • Why work? – Supporting their lifestyle choices and families were the top two contributors to the overall motivation to work. Office workers in China rated the latter as their least motivating factor. Respondents in India ranked fulfilling their lifestyle needs as the least motivating factor to work.
  • Motivations to work at current organisation – Following salary and perks, the ability to advance was the highest ranked motivational factor for office workers in their current roles. Respondents in Australia & New Zealand are strongly motivated by focus on innovation and blue-sky projects. On the other hand, respondents in Hong Kong are most motivated by their companies’ investments in community and fun activities. Unlike elsewhere in APAC, office workers in Korea are strongly motivated by their organisations offering them the ability to support social causes (40 percent).
  • Bustling major cities66 percent of office workers who live in major cities cited availability of job opportunities as a key factor. At 20 percent, the high cost of living in APAC’s major cities was voted the least important factor in their decision to choose their work location. In Hong Kong, 60 percent of respondent working in major cities in Hong Kong rated the presence of family or friends as the main factor behind their decision to work there.
  • Fostering innovation – 15 percent of APAC office workers felt their organisations were not at all focused on driving new ideas and innovative projects compared to 30 percent who felt their organisations are extremely focused. Respondents in India (91 percent) felt most confident about their organisations’ focus on fostering innovation, while office workers in Hong Kong (75 percent) were most skeptical.

Join the Conversation

Today, Adobe will host Think Tank: The Future of Work, where an exclusive group of industry leaders will discuss how technology is changing the way we live and work in APAC. The discussion will be livestreamed at 2pm (AEDT). More information and livestream registration is available at http://adobethinktank.com.

The Future of Work: APAC Study

The Future of Work: APAC Study engaged more than 4,700 APAC office workers who use a computer daily for work. Research was conducted from October 17 to November 13, 2017. The survey included working professionals from various sectors (healthcare, manufacturing, banking/finance, technology/telecom, media & entertainment etc.) across 10 countries – Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. For more information, see the Adobe Future of Work report.

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