A new study from web hosting company GoDaddy has found that despite general fears of the impact of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) on companies, small-business owners and entrepreneurs are “optimistic about business growth, the power of technology, and their contributions to local communities.”
When talking to business owners about changes in technology, “what we found is that 70% of small businesses globally felt that these external factors were not going to have an impact on their business, that they were confident in their ability to grow over the course of the next three to five years,” said GoDaddy’s VP of Global Community Melissa Schneider on Yahoo Finance’s “YFi AM.”
“And we also found that especially in the U.S., 17% compared to 33% globally said that there was any sort of concern about external factors impacting their ability to grow,” she added.
Automation has frequently been viewed as a threat to workers; in a study last fall, 60% of both Democrats and Republicans were worried that robots and AI would imperil jobs. “While some warn that around 38% of U.S. jobs are at a potential high risk of automation by the 2030s, entrepreneurs surveyed believe they are insulated from the impacts of disruptive technologies,” GoDaddy said in a release.
GoDaddy surveyed over 4,500 small businesses in 10 countries around the world, and 500 entrepreneurs with 25 or fewer employees.
And when it comes to tech, more women than men were willing to do it themselves and handle all their tech needs on their own.
“We see a wide range of technological capability among small-business owners,” Schneider said. “But what was super interesting was to see that, women more than men, 80% of women said that they would take on – take the reins of tech themselves in their businesses versus 63% of men. Men are much more likely to go ahead and outsource some of that work.”
Tech is also enabling more flexibility in the workplace as employees look to work remotely.
“While many believe younger generations may be more inclined to work remotely, it is actually the baby boomers (49%) and Gen X-ers (42%) who are 50% more likely than millennials (26%) to believe remote work will be commonplace in the future,” the report noted.
“This could be due to older generations enjoying perks like working from a home office or on the road.”
Schneider said millennials don’t consider remote work options a “benefit.”
“It's seen as part and parcel of what technology enables them to do on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.