MORE workers in the Channel Islands have reported finding their workload unmanageable than anywhere else in the world, a new survey has revealed.
In response to the findings, the Economic Development Minister and the Island’s digital lead said that technology was the answer to pressures on the workforce.
PwC’s Channel Islands’ Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey compared the responses of 563 employees across Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney – representing all industries and sectors – to nearly 54,000 employees around the world.
Over a third of those surveyed said that they often or usually find their workloads unmanageable, which is 14% higher than the global average.
However, a period dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’ is seemingly over, with only one in seven people considering leaving their current job compared to the average of one in four elsewhere.
The survey further revealed that Channel Island workers were largely unaware of the impacts that artificial intelligence would have on their careers over the next five years, with half of respondents selecting ‘I don’t think AI will impact my job’ and ‘Don’t know’.
There was a generational split in responses, with 45% of ‘Gen Z’ and ‘Millennials’ indicating that they believe AI will help to increase productivity and efficiency at work in the next five years, versus 22% of respondents from older generations.
Commenting on the results, Leyla Yildirim, chief strategy officer of PwC Channel Islands, said that employees were ‘bearing the brunt of ongoing skills shortages, having to take on extra responsibilities beyond their job description and seeing their workloads increase’.
‘Organisations taking that loyalty for granted do so at their peril,’ she continued. ‘The need to have a compelling employee value proposition to keep hold of good staff and invest in their wellbeing to grow our economy has never been more important.’
She also called the ‘lack of awareness’ about the potential impact of AI on local jobs ‘particularly concerning’ and ‘the onus must be on employers to invest now in upskilling staff for the future world of work or we risk being left behind’.
Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel, who is expected to release his Future Economy Programme next month, said: ‘At a time when we know we have skills shortages, which is the case across the western world, I understand that people are feeling under pressure in their work.
‘It’s important that managers and company owners help staff with their workload pressures, be aware of those pressures, and work to mitigate them in any way they can to avoid burnout.’
He added that the difficulty in bringing people with specialist skills into the Island meant that Islanders in those roles were ‘finding it particularly hard to cope with the workload’.
Technology, he continued, ‘is the enabler to allow us to build this economy’ and ‘the key to Jersey delivering the future economy needs of our society’.
He added: ‘The survey shows that the effective use of technology is how businesses in Jersey can find absences in the staff that they need, and turn to technology, where they can, to lighten the load.’
Tony Moretta, the head of Digital Jersey, similarly said that ‘the report answers itself’, arguing that workload pressures could be solved – and productivity increased – if employees take it on themselves to learn new digital skills.
‘Islanders are overworked because they are taking on jobs which haven’t been filled, but AI helps to do work more quickly, such as research, report writing, moving data around.
‘If AI removes any jobs, it removes those that haven’t been filled anyway,’ he added.
‘The main challenge is to get those who are not familiar with AI to have the curiosity to play around, to have a go, try it out, and sign up for a course run by Digital Jersey.’