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64% of UK decision-makers consider quitting when the economy improves

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39% of UK decision-makers would consider leaving their job in the next 12 months according to DocuSign’s 2023 Digital Maturity Report, and a further 25% would do so when the economy improves. The research, which surveyed 600 decision-makers across UK and Ireland, revealed that the desire to abandon legacy ways of working could force over a quarter (28%) into ditching their roles, creating a potentially sizable brain drain and productivity slump for UK businesses.

Digitisation is more important than ever with over a quarter (26%) of those who already plan to leave their jobs planning to do so because they’re frustrated with the current systems and processes they currently use and instead want to work for more digital-forward companies.

The research also shows that 4 in 5 (83%) consider themselves as digitally savvy yet as only 16% say their organisation’s current digital infrastructure meets employee expectations very well, the disparity between employee and employer should worry business leaders.

The gap that keeps on growing

Organisations need to work quickly to limit the fallout. 45% say they’re not able to deliver against their day-to-day / operational technology imperatives because they don’t have enough of or the right talent, while 1 in 2 (50%) believe they’re unable to experiment with innovative technologies in their organization for the same reason.

A significant 69% of UK & Ireland businesses believe they have a skills gap around technology – a gap that grows to 74% for UK & Ireland SMEs. Nevertheless, 42% anticipate using the next 12 months to improve digital skills investments, whilst 46% review the upskilling of staff in the latest digital tools and technologies at least every three months.

Cutting low-value repetitive work: a productivity boost for businesses

Almost half (49%) of UK decision makers expressed that they would like to have more time to dedicate to forward-looking strategy yet, the report shows that a disproportionate amount of time (11 hours per person per week) is being spent on non-value, manual, and repetitive tasks. 

Ronan Copeland, Group VP and General Manager, EMEA, at DocuSign, comments “It’s concerning that more than a day’s work is wasted per week on low-value tasks, despite half of decision-makers wanting to dedicate more time on strategic work. There’s clearly a significant gap between what staff desire from work and the everyday reality of their roles. Plugging that gap makes clear business and economical sense, and will also help firms to retain their top talent in a challenging economic environment.”

Businesses need to look at the current tools and processes in place that are taking away from real productivity hours as 39% believe reducing inefficiencies from manual processes would have the most significant impact on their organisation’s performance and productivity in the next 12 months. 

By eliminating low-value or repetitive work that could be automated, organisations could create a 25% productivity boost, potentially increasing the GDP contribution per worker per year to almost £31,000 in the UK alone. Thankfully, 2 in 3 (69%) of UK decision-makers claim they are increasing their investment and adoption of digital technologies, lagging only 5% behind Germany. Half plan to invest in digital contract management in the next one (29%) to three years (20%). 

Copeland concludes: “On top of the talent gap, the current systems and processes that are holding organisations back are clearly driving employees away and only making the situation worse. While it’s promising to see that 69% have increased their investments in digital technology over the last 12 months to help them adapt, the fact that almost two-thirds of decision-makers are considering leaving their roles once the macroeconomic climate improves highlights why firms must fix this now.”

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