German Industrial Workers Want To Be Digital Players, Overshadowing Fear Of Automation, According To New Survey
- German industrial employees want to actively participate in the development process and help shape the digitalization of their organization
- Survey shows millions of potential ‘low-coders’ and desire for access to new digital skills, tools, and platforms
FRANKFURT – March 31, 2021 – Mendix, a Siemens business and global leader in low-code application development for the enterprise, today published the German results of the international survey “Low-Code Forecasts 2021.” The study analyzes the potential of collaborative software development as a digitalization driver with regard to manufacturing employees’ desires and expectations for new digital skills. The conclusion of the 250 employees surveyed contradicts the oft-invoked fear of job loss due to automation and AI. Instead, 61% want to actively shape the digitization of their organization and as many as 77% are interested in learning new digital skills, such as creating their own applications.
More than 300,000 industrial employees are already actively working with low-code technologies; the potential in German manufacturing is 1.8 million low-coders
Thanks to low-code and no-code application platforms, software development is increasingly becoming a fundamental skill that is not just reserved for development professionals. In fact, 71% of the employees surveyed from various departments said they would learn low-code for professional reasons and use it in their current jobs. 6% of respondents are already actively working with this technology. Extrapolating to the total number of employees in the industrial sector (currently 5,445,614 according to the German Federal Employment Agency), the survey leaders estimate that there are already more than 326,000 low-coders working in Germany’s industry. Around 1.85 million employees represent untapped potential for employees who could help digitalize their companies and their industry faster using low-code.
Great desire for more digital skills and co-creation in software development
More than three-quarters of respondents attach high relevance to learning new digital skills for their future career planning. For example, 51% of German survey participants said that new skills would help them to be even more successful in their jobs, and 43% hope for better career opportunities. Other reasons included the desire to change industries (26%), keep their current job (21%), or even start their own business (12%).
Nearly two-thirds of respondents have clear ideas about how they want to learn these skills, with 32% stating a preference for professional training from outside and 30% preferring internal coaching from the IT department. This is a good opportunity for employers to use appropriate measures to train their workforce and involve them actively in digitization.
Another 15% would like to experiment with application development in self-study and have a time allotment for this; 10% of respondents, on the other hand, would prefer a programming interface with drag-and-drop functionality and prefabricated building blocks.
Low-code is still uncharted territory for many industry employees
Especially for the latter group, application programming with low-code lends itself to providing access to software development even for non-IT professionals. However, as the survey further revealed, the term low-code is still unknown to a large proportion of industrial employees: 46%, for example, had never heard of low-code before. A further 30% of respondents stated that they had heard of low-code, but have no precise idea what low-code actually is. This contrasts with 18% of participants who have both heard of low-code and know what the technology stands for. Last but not least, 6% said they were already active low-code users.
“There has been talk for some time about the democratization of software development through technologies such as low-code and the resulting boost to digitalization. The survey shows there is also a great interest among non-IT professionals to develop digital skills,” said Hans de Visser, VP of product management at Mendix. “At the same time, there’s a big gap between the desire for participation and awareness of low-code. Low-code can act as a digitalization driver in the industry. The opportunities are great. With the equivalent of 1.8 million potential low-code users or ‘makers’ in the industrial environment in Germany alone, imagine the brilliant ideas for applications that are just waiting to be implemented. And imagine the enormous added value they can potentially bring to their organizations.”
About the survey methodology
The survey was conducted by Reputation Leaders on behalf of Mendix. It surveyed 250 employees in industrial occupations between the ages of 18 and 64 living in Germany, 87% of whom reported being male and 13% female. The online survey was conducted on a nationally representative (age, gender, region) sample of 250 manufacturing employees currently living in Germany. The projections are based on the total German manufacturing workforce as defined by the German Federal Employment Agency. The margin of error is 6.2%.
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