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Two-thirds of UK employees want to delegate work to robots

June 20, 2018

Attending meetings tops most hated tasks at work

  • 63% of UK workers would outsource tasks to a robot given the chance
  • Attending meetings (24%), reviewing long documents (17%) and speaking to customers (13%) are the UK’s most hated work tasks
  • Top jobs employees want robots to do: data entry (16%), tracking time (14%) and electronic filing (12%)
  • A quarter (26%) wait to be reminded by someone else to do the jobs they dislike

More than three fifths (63%) of UK employees would outsource work tasks to a robot if they could, according to research commissioned by ABBYY®, a global provider of content intelligence solutions and services.

For almost a quarter of Brits (24%) attending meetings is their most hated work activity. While one in six (17%) dislike reviewing long documents and more than one in eight (13%) don’t like speaking to customers, these are not jobs that workers want to delegate to robots.

The jobs that employees would most like to hand over to a machine are inputting data (16%), taking minutes and notes (14%) and electronic filing (12%).

The good news for UK employees is that the majority (63%) spend less than one day a week on their most hated task: attending meetings. In contrast, one in four of the working population say they spend two or more days a week on data entry (26%), and electronic filing (24%). Therefore, the research suggests that the work people most want to delegate to robots are tasks that they both dislike and have to spend a significant amount of time doing.

Top 10 tasks UK employees most hate

Attending meetings  24%
Reviewing long documents  17%
Speaking to customers  13%
Speaking to your boss  11%
Manual data entry  10%
Tracking hours/time  10%
Taking notes in meetings  10%
Processing documents, e.g. payroll and invoices  9%
Booking time off  9%
Reporting  9%


Which of these most hated work tasks would you like to delegate to a robot?

 Manual data entry  16%
 Taking minutes and notes  14%
 Electronic filing  12%
 Tracking hours/time  11%
 Processing documents, e.g. payroll and invoices  11%
 Attending certain meetings  11%
Reviewing long documents  11%

British workers’ approach to jobs they dislike is also telling. Interestingly, one in seven (15%) try to avoid doing tasks they dislike altogether, while a quarter (26%) wait to be reminded by someone else. This potentially has repercussions for overall business efficiency and productivity.

“It is encouraging to see that the majority of UK workers would welcome the opportunity to delegate tasks – particularly those that are less interesting – to robots,” says Anthony Macciola, Chief Innovation Officer at ABBYY. “Whilst people may not enjoy spending time in meeting or speaking to customers or their boss, they clearly recognise the value they personally bring to those activities."

“For the vast majority, the idea of working with robots is still hypothetical. However, we find that enabling employees to work in partnership with robots enhances their job satisfaction, allowing them to spend more time on adding value to their businesses where it matters most. Thankfully for both employers and employees, technology such as content intelligence solutions can help to take away these tasks – without replacing workers,” Macciola concludes.

: The study was developed by ABBYY and conducted in June 2018 by an independent research firm among 1,200 employees in the UK. The survey looks into the impact of automation, robotics and digitalisation on working attitudes.


ABBYY is a global leader of content intelligent solutions and services. ABBYY offers a complete range of AI-based technologies and solutions transforming business documents and content into business value. By providing digital transformation solutions to financial services, insurance, transportation, healthcare and other industries, the company helps organizations achieve the next wave of growth by understanding customers and delivering responsive real-time intelligent systems. The flexibility of ABBYY AI solutions enables customers to utilize a diverse range of advanced technologies, platforms and solutions for classification, text analytics, data and entity extraction, and data validation via any communication channel and in any format. ABBYY technologies are used and licensed by some of the largest international enterprises and government organizations, as well as SMBs and individuals. The company maintains offices in Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, Ukraine, and the United States. For more information, please visit

ABBYY and the ABBYY Logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of ABBYY Software Ltd. Other product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners and are hereby recognized.

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Media Contact:

Gemma Sowerby at Lewis Global Communications
0207 802 2626


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