Despite warnings that AI could lead to widespread redundancies, young tech workers across Europe believe that the recent advances in AI will supercharge the industry they work in, according to a survey of Gen Z workers across the continent.
The second Young Generation in Tech survey, commissioned by HR tech leader HiBob with global Venture Capital fund Eight Roads, reveals that almost 4 in 5 of the 2,000 20-30-year-olds surveyed in tech across Europe believe AI will have a positive impact on their work.
Confident about AI
While headlines have focused on the threat of AI to the future of work – one report from Goldman Sachs predicts it could replace 300 million full-time jobs – 78% of the young Europeans surveyed are confident about the impact the technology will have on their role.
Confidence levels are highest in the UK, where more than 85% of young tech workers are “somewhat” or “very confident” about the advances in AI and tech. Elsewhere, 78% of British workers believe AI will make them more productive, efficient and creative, while only 9% say they never plan to use AI tools.
Satisfaction bounces back
Optimism about AI is just one aspect of a dramatic upturn in confidence among young tech workers. Just 12 months ago, this group reported feeling disillusioned and let down with their roles in the tech sector, with one in four Europeans on the verge of quitting.
As of 2023, the proportion of Europeans who are unhappy in their role has more than halved (from 35% to just 15%). Almost half (48%) of Europeans surveyed said they’re “very satisfied” with their role, and 63% have no plans to leave their job in the foreseeable future, indicating a more settled workforce than in 2022. In the UK, satisfaction is even higher with more than half (58%) of workers feeling very satisfied, and 77% planning to stay in their jobs for 2023, and for the foreseeable future.
Elsewhere, increased job satisfaction seems to be linked to greater job security, with 59% of respondents in Europe considering their position to be secure, compared with 51% last year. In the UK, security is even higher at 80%, and 80% of British respondents report having been promoted at least once in the past 24 months. These are the highest figures in Europe.
Davor Hebel, Managing Partner, Eight Roads Ventures:
“It’s heartening to see confidence recover amongst the tech’s youngest workers. Despite the ongoing economic uncertainty, today’s young professionals are proving just how resilient and adaptable they can be. Not surprisingly, they are the fastest generation to embrace AI, seeing it as a strong productivity lever, and not a threat. AI is one of the most significant innovations of our time, and it’s great to see younger people so engaged with it.”
Back to the office
Elsewhere, as the debate around working patterns continues to divide, the survey reveals that the office isn’t dead. While flexible work models remain important across all regions surveyed, young people do still want to go to the office. More than half (56%) of Europeans said they choose to be in the office four or five days a week, while only 9% choose to work fully remotely. The UK is slightly less fond of office work, with 54% choosing to work four or five days.
Young people confirm that being in the office makes them more engaged and motivated. When asked about what they most like about being in the office, respondents mention the people they work with: their team, their manager and interactions with people in general.
Proving that purpose is also a key driver for young workers, more than a fifth of Europeans (21%) said that their ideal role would be for a company with positive impact, and they regret the fact their employer isn’t making more of a positive difference to the world. The same number additionally said that working for a company with strong values and which promotes fairness, collaboration, and allows time for volunteering supports their mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health and wellbeing
Speaking of wellbeing, while the survey found that fears over job insecurity had largely receded in Europe, over half (56%) of Europeans reported their job impacts their mental health. In the UK, this figure is higher with 60% reporting that their role impacts their wellbeing. This likely reflects more openness and less stigma about mental health in the prevailing culture.
When asked what employers can do to support the respondents’ mental health, being trusted to complete tasks came out on top, followed by having the necessary resources to do their job. Having direct access to mental health specialists, and specific wellbeing benefits fell further down the list.
Ronni Zehavi, Co-founder & CEO of HiBob:
“The young generation is signaling a clear message: beyond competitive salaries and benefits, they’re in search of workplaces that resonate with purpose and empower them with the necessary resources to thrive. Companies that understand these needs will succeed in making young people feel more secure, and less likely to leave. ”