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Zapier’s quarterly automation confidence index: Wave 2

This quarterly report measures knowledge workers' use of automation at work over time to better understand how automation is impacting their work.

By Zapier Editorial Team · November 30, 2020
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Three out of five knowledge workers (61 percent) use automation software at work—and another one in five (18 percent) intends to use it. Almost everyone who uses such software—98 percent—say they benefit from it. 

No one likes to do repetitive work, especially work that computers could do faster. That's probably why so many knowledge workers are turning to automation software, which is designed to automatically complete tasks. 

These figures come from a recent survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zapier, which explored who's using automation at work—and why. 

Faster and better: automation helps people get things done

Why do knowledge workers start using automation software? To get more done, and to do that work better. Here are the top benefits knowledge workers told us they get from automation software. 

Infographic showing Q3 at 64%, Q4 at 61%
  • It helps me complete tasks faster – 40 percent 

  • It improves the way I work overall – 36 percent

  • It helps me be more organized at work – 35 percent 

  • It helps me and my team focus on important work – 34 percent

  • It reduces human error and oversight in everyday tasks – 31 percent 

  • My employer started using automation software – 29 percent

  • I believe automation is a skill employers value – 28 percent

  • I like to experiment with new technology – 26 percent

  • I believe using automation will help me advance my business or career faster – 25 percent

  • I use a number of apps that wouldn't work well together without automation – 19 percent

  • To compensate for a talent shortage – 18 percent

98 percent of users benefit from automation—here's how

Nearly all knowledge workers who have used automation at work (98 percent) say they have benefitted from doing so (similar to our Q2 report, at 96 percent). The top benefits? Saving time and getting more done. 

Infographic describing the benefits of automation

Here are the ways knowledge workers told us automation software benefits them: 

  • It saves time – 40 percent

  • It helps me get more done – 39 percent

  • It enables me to complete my projects faster – 38 percent

  • It makes me better at my job overall – 35 percent

  • It reduces the number of errors in my work – 33 percent

  • It saves my company money – 32 percent

  • It enables me to accomplish more with fewer resources – 32 percent

  • It prevents work from falling through the cracks – 31 percent

  • It allows me to work fewer hours – 25 percent

  • It allows me more time to work on other things I value/enjoy more – 24 percent 

  • It makes me look more professional – 22 percent, down from 31 percent in the previous wave

  • It sets me apart from my coworkers – 19 percent

Why do some people avoid automation software?

Not everyone uses automation software: 21 percent of knowledge workers don't use it and don't intend to. Why is that? Mostly because they don't understand it. Here are the most common reasons they gave us.

Infographic describing reasons people don't use automation

  • I don’t see how it could be useful to my job right now – 29 percent

  • I didn’t know it was an option – 16 percent

  • My workplace is not tech-savvy – 15 percent

  • I don’t understand what automation software is – 14 percent

  • I don’t use different apps and software at work – 14 percent 

  • I/my company can't afford automation software – 13 percent 

  • It's difficult to find time to learn a new skill – 10 percent

  • I am afraid using it will drastically change the responsibilities of my role – 8 percent

  • Automation software is difficult to set up – 7 percent

  • I’m afraid of using it – 3 percent

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