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Are You In The Right Job?

October 30, 2018

The UK has one of the most skilled workforces in the world, with 42% of workers qualified to degree level. However, among the 36 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it also has the highest proportion of jobs which require no qualifications at all.

The CIPD’s report - ‘Over-skilled and underused: Investigating the untapped potential of UK skills’ - found that 37% of workers have the skills to cope with more demanding duties than they currently perform. At the opposite end of the scale, a staggering 12% of employees lack all of the skills required to effectively execute their duties.

What does all of this mean in real terms? Amazingly, the story the research tells us is that 49% of employees could be in the wrong job, based on their skill level.

The report shows that more graduate employees believe themselves to be under-skilled for their role (14%) than those without a degree (10%). While these figures clearly illustrate the importance of ongoing training and development in the workplace, 24% of participants in the CIPD research said they had not received any training in the last year.

Employees identified as being over-skilled can experience a number of negative consequences. The disparity in job satisfaction between those whose skills are 'well-suited' to their role and those over-skilled, is higher than 20%.

Being over-skilled can also hurt people’s chances of climbing the career ladder, with almost 10% more people in the 'well-suited' category enjoying promotion within their current organisation. Earning levels are also impacted, with more than a quarter of over-skilled workers earning less than £20,000 a year.

In response to these challenges, the CIPD is calling for organisations to improve how they manage and develop their people and for the Government to work in partnership with employers, unions, and local areas to provide bespoke, practical support to enable smaller firms in particular to improve their people management practices.

Lizzie Crowley, Skills Adviser at the CIPD, comments: “There needs to be a much greater emphasis on how well existing skills and capabilities of individuals are harnessed and developed at work, through better people management practices and access to development opportunities. For too long, skills policy in the UK has been fixated on increasing the supply of skills coming into the labour market. This has failed as an approach.

"To address stagnant productivity and stimulate the economy, the industrial strategy must prioritise better use of existing skills, built on the foundation of better quality jobs and business models that deliver high-value goods and service. Without real and impactful change to the UK’s skills strategy, the UK’s productivity puzzle will prove impossible to solve.”

To address the skills mismatch, recommendations from the CIPD’s report include:

  • The Chancellor should use the Autumn Budget to boost investment in skills development through the National Productivity Investment Fund
  • High-quality careers advice and guidance should be offered in schools, and more high-quality vocational routes into work should be created
  • Employers should invest in formal training for all line managers to ensure that they have the skills they need to support employee development
  • The Government must work in partnership with employers, unions, sector bodies, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities at a national, sector and local level to provide practical support that encourages small employers in particular to improve their people management practices

If you think you are in the wrong job, check out our latest vacancies here.


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