Cartoon showing employees on a conveyor belt heading towards a door with an exit sign on it.
Image: © aleutie/

Outdated tech could mean mass exodus of workers in Europe, survey says

29 Jun 2023

Just under one-third of European businesspeople surveyed by DocuSign plan on quitting their jobs in the coming months due to poor workplace tech.

Almost two-thirds (65pc) of business decision-makers realise that they have a digital skills gap in their organisation and this is preventing them from being able to deliver on their day-to-day tech needs.

That’s according to a survey of 1,800 businesspeople in France, Germany, the UK and Ireland that was carried out by DocuSign. The survey informed a report on the digital maturity of European businesses in 2023. It looked at attitudes that business leaders have around digital skills and their organisations’ requirements, strengths and weaknesses.

More than three-quarters (78pc) of respondents said they consider themselves to be digitally savvy but just 16pc said their organisation’s current digital infrastructure meets employee expectations very well. This disparity looks set to cause a significant brain drain as 31pc of decision-makers plan on quitting their job in the next year, citing poor workplace tech.

One-third of the respondents that already plan on leaving their job said they would do so because they feel frustrated by mundane tasks and legacy tech and they want to work for employers that use more advanced tech.

Automation could solve digital divide

This digital divide is already creating problems and digital skills gaps for companies that are in danger of being left behind. Just under half (49pc) of the leaders surveyed said they don’t have the right talent to deliver on their daily tech tasks, while 52pc can’t implement their strategic plans for the same reason.

However, employers are realising that they have to invest in upskilling to retain and develop in-house talent. Just under half (45pc) are currently prioritising reskilling and upskilling, while 43pc are planning to invest further in digital tools and automation technology to boost productivity and automate less thrilling tech tasks.

DocuSign’s study found that workers could potentially gain an extra 12 hours ­– or 1.5 working days – of productive time per week by automating a lot of processes. More than one-quarter (27pc) of respondents are looking into AI tools like ChatGPT to drive efficiencies.

“That employees are wasting a staggering 12 hours per week on low-value tasks is concerning,” said Ronan Copeland, group VP and general manager, EMEA, at DocuSign. It’s worth noting here that DocuSign is itself an automation company.

“There’s a significant gap between what staff desire from work and the everyday reality of their roles. Plugging that gap makes clear business and economic sense, and will also help firms to retain their top talent in a challenging economic environment,” Copeland added.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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