Press releases

Deloitte finds executives optimistic about Industry 4.0, but lacking confidence in their organisations’ influence and preparedness

22 January 2018

Global research explores C-suite views on readiness for the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on society, strategy, the workforce and technology investments

  • 87% of global senior business executives believe the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lead to more social and economy equality and stability
  • 63% of UK executives say that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will need a complete rethinking of social and labour contracts
  • 72% of UK executives say their workforce will trend toward contractual, temporary and/or ad hoc employees

More than 90% of senior British business and government leaders believe the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lead to greater economic and social equality, according to new research by Deloitte. However, executives doubt their own ability to influence key societal factors that would help achieve such an outcome. 17% of UK respondents believe they have the influence to deliver a level and fair marketplace, 11% say they can influence environmental stability and just 6% believe they have influence over education and training.

Deloitte Global’s report, ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution is Here – Are You Ready?’, surveyed 1,600 C-Level executives across 19 countries, including 150 in the UK. It explores their readiness to capitalize on Industry 4.0, characterised as the marriage of physical and digital technologies, to benefit customers, employees, communities and other key stakeholders.

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO, said: “The technologies driving Industry 4.0 are bringing about rapid social and economic change in an environment of unparalleled global connectivity and demographic change. It’s a time of great opportunity, but also risk. We developed this research to better understand how executives are navigating the pervasive shift and to uncover areas where they can more effectively influence how the Fourth Industrial Revolution impacts their organisations and society.”

Executives do not believe their organisations have the right talent to be successful in Industry 4.0. Globally, just a quarter are highly confident they have the right workforce composition and the skills needed for the future and just over half of UK respondents believe their existing workforce can be trained in the skills they require. As a result, 61% of executives globally and 72% in the UK see their organisations making greater use of temporary or contractual workers in future. 63% of UK executives say that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will need a complete rethinking of social and labour contracts compared to 56% globally.

Separate research published by Deloitte UK last week argued that companies must think differently about how they recruit. The Power Up: UK Skills report argued that transferable human skills have become increasingly prominent in driving UK employment growth. While technology will change the way we work, the ability to apply knowledge in different contexts and adapt transferable skills across jobs and industries will ensure the UK can make the most of the opportunities that Industry 4.0 can bring. Deloitte urged companies to challenge preconceptions of traditional career pathways based on academic achievement and expertise alone.

Currently, executives acknowledge they may not be ready to make the most of changes associated with Industry 4.0. 16% of UK executives are highly confident that their organisations are ready to fully harness the changes associated with Industry 4.0, yet 55% say they’re highly capable of using advanced technologies to enable their employees to be more efficient.

David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte North West Europe, added: “Senior executives in the UK share an optimism for the societal and economic changes that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring, however this is yet to feed down into the way they utilise the skills and capabilities of their current workforce or support temporary employees. For stability to be felt, gig economy workers must be made to feel financially secure and confident in navigating traditional roles, while permanent employees will need to be supported in their adjustment to workplace automation. Organisations that embrace a new stance on how they support and develop all of their people will map a clearer path to a stable and equal future for all.”

For more information and to view the full research results, read the report here.


Note to editors

Forbes Insights, in conjunction with Deloitte Global, conducted a global survey of 1,603 CXOs to better understand their perspectives on Industry 4.0. All respondents were from organizations with annual revenue greater than US$1 billion, with average revenue of US$7.4 billion. The CXOs lead organizations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. Respondents represent 10 industries, with no industry constituting more than 12 percent of the total sample. The survey was conducted in August 2017.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

Did you find this useful?