Within property and surveying, the effects of automation are expected to be far reaching, impacting the collection of survey data, the examination of financial records, preparation of contracts, and also including the increased use of drones. These changes will present both opportunities and challenges, and those practitioners that adapt their approach in response will be able to provide additional human value and strategic insight through the increased efficiencies.
According to our latest research in the Hays What Workers Want 2019 report, 66% of property and surveying employers are currently investing in automation. Property and surveying professionals, in turn, show high levels of optimism about technological change, with 78% of respondents embracing automation in the workplace.
Integrating technology into everyday working tasks involves innumerable challenges, so how should property and surveying employers approach the automation question and provide the support employees need?
1. Provide transparency around investment
37% of property and surveying respondents say that they are more attracted to an organisation that is investing or has plans to invest in automation when they are searching for a new role. 52% would like hear about it in job adverts, and 36% during interviews. Despite this, nearly a quarter (22%) of property and surveying employers do not promote their organisation’s investment in automation anywhere during the recruitment process.
To attract those property and surveying candidates who highly value digital innovation, employers should consider promoting automation investment at key stages of the hiring process, from job adverts up to onboarding. Information about its benefits should be made available, including the ways it can reduce administrative tasks and provide more opportunities for adding human value.
2. Facilitate upskilling opportunities
37% of property and surveying employers currently do not possess the right skills to enable them to make the best use of automation technology, with 24% citing moderate, and 13% extreme skills gaps. Professionals, in turn, are keen to upskill, with 48% developing their soft skills in order to better work with automation, and 38% working on their technical skills. Only 17%, however, are upskilling in technical areas through training funded by their employer, despite 53% of property and surveying respondents deeming it the responsibility of employers to equip professionals with the skills needed to derive the most benefit from automation.
In response to this, employers should look to review the training offers they currently provide, and consider whether it is something they should be looking to invest in more. This could be something as simple as providing bite-sized resources to help facilitate independent learning, or potentially introducing mentoring schemes to help enable digital skills transference.
3. Work on your culture
When it comes to implementing automation, your culture is your best asset. A positive attitude to change is deemed the most important factor for workers to successfully deal with digital transformation by 67% of property and surveying employers and employees. It is ranked more highly than both the right skills (32%) and previous experience (1%), but despite this, 31% of property and surveying professionals say their organisation is not well equipped to deal with technological change.
To ensure the smooth integration of technology into your workplace, employers should consider hiring experts such as change or communications managers to help instil a culture that is open to change. This is crucial to organisations going through major transformations and helps to maximise employee engagement.
To discover further insights into how automation is impacting jobs and the steps you can take to prepare, get your copy of the Hays What Workers Want Report 2019.
About this author
Richard leads specialist recruiting consultants across the sector. He joined Hays in 1991 and quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was appointed Director in 2001.