53% of UK employees believe AI skills will make their job easier, according to ABBYY survey


According to new global research from Digital Intelligence company ABBYY, 6-in-10 (64%) UK employees say their job is made more difficult through trouble accessing data in documents and 1-in-4 (27%) lose a full day of productivity per week searching documents for information they need to serve customers, higher than the global average.

Under the burden of business-critical information being locked within digitised documents, including PDFs, Excel sheets, emails, images, text messages and chatbot conversations, employees are unable to make the best use of their time, leading to poor business decisions and the obstruction of positive customer experiences – potentially contributing to the groves of staff leaving their jobs in the current era of ‘The Great Resignation.’

Employees want to feel empowered through work that matters, such as building meaningful customer relations, rather than spending time on manually searching for information. Yet, the inability to access data in documents is leading to delays in completing processes (55%), increased manual handling (31%), errors (34%) and poor customer experience (25%). This requires frustrated and burnt-out employees to step in to rectify errors and plug gaps, taking them away from concentrating on more engaging, higher value projects – 34% agree this can be achieved through document AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology.

Focusing on employee retention to build customer relations

In the current climate of the ‘Great Resignation,’ where attracting and retaining talent is increasingly difficult, the automation of intelligent document processing can improve the employee experience, enabling staff to feel excited and engaged about their workplace – and subsequently improve customer relations. In fact, 53% of employees agreed AI-powered software that understands data like a human, would make their lives easier, a further 33% agreed they can help improve not only employees’ experiences, but customers’ experiences too. 

When organisations look towards investing in the right AI solutions, their employees will thrive. It’s no wonder that: 

  • A huge 72% would be willing to use no-code drag-and-drop AI “skills” that understand the content and context of documents to reduce errors and increase efficiency 
  • Four-in-ten (43%) say that this would allow them to work on more fulfilling, creative tasks and alleviate them from manual data entry 
  • A third (31%) agreed that these document AI “skills” will upskill and empower them to make better decisions faster (36%) giving them more time to be responsive to customers’ needs (33%). 

Weronika Niemczyk, Chief People Officer at ABBYY said: “There is no escaping the use of documents no matter the type of business that people work in, even when they are born digital. In this era of employees increasingly leaving employers who don’t offer the conditions, tools and support they expect, it is important to upskill and augment workers with AI capabilities, especially when working with company assets such as documents. 

“AI skills for documents deliver cost savings, not just in terms of speed of processes and a reduction in errors but also alleviates the need for additional staff. As a result, happier, more engaged employees have more time to dedicate to the tasks that matter – delivering superior customer experiences and creative problem solving.” 

Neil Murphy, Vice President at ABBY said: “The last 18 months have seen UK employees knee-deep in manual work and broken processes and the effects of this has made headlines time and again – therefore, it should come as no shock that this frustration is contributing to the ‘Great Resignation’. The daily drag of documents will require technology such as AI skills to empower employees in order to retain them in the long run.”


This research was conducted by Sapio Research in September - October 2021 and sponsored by ABBYY. It surveyed 5,025 office workers across the UK, US, France, Germany, and Japan in organisations with 500+ employees on the challenges of accessing data in documents, the wider impact and the role software and automation technologies play. 

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