In the wrong job | Careers advice

Most of us will at one time or another have wondered whether or not we were in the right job. While this may be no more than a response to a bad day in the office, research by the Skills Commission has shown that many of us are in the wrong job – one in five of us, in fact. And 41% of those questioned admitted to having been in the wrong job at some point in their careers.

According to the research, people spend an average of four years and 10 months in jobs that fail to make the most of their skills. And just 4% of those who managed to escape from the wrong job sought formal careers advice before making a move. So why are employees ending up in the wrong job?
Asked where they went for careers advice, it transpired that …

65% of the respondents had had formal career advice over the course of their careers
41% sought informal advice from friends (this went up to 76% among 18-24 year olds)
37% found their career tips online
32% asked Mum and Dad …
25% asked other family members

Given the range of sources, it’s inevitable that there will be a certain degree of inconsistency – and are parents really impartial, never mind qualified and experienced, enough to give careers advice? And it’s hardly surprising that so many people end up wrongly employed if they’re relying on their friends for advice – unless they happen to be careers counsellors, that is.

What is going wrong at the recruitment stage? There seems to be an enormous amount of mis-hiring going on …. Perhaps the responsibility lies with the organisations themselves. HR teams should be aware of whether staff are happy at work, and whether they are suited to their roles. Ignoring the issue could have serious implications, in terms of staff turnover, morale, performance and even, in more extreme cases, mental health problems.

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One Response to In the wrong job | Careers advice

  1. Chris Young 4 April 2008 at 3:20 pm #

    Tara – interesting post and thanks for the link to the resource.

    To be honest the numbers surprised me… I would guess they are actually much higher. Maybe things are different on my side of the pond, but I doubt it.

    While 1 in 5 thinking they are in the wrong job seems compelling enough, this is only people who reported thinking they are in the wrong job.

    The reason I think the number is low is that most people don’t realize they are in the wrong job. They do a decent job at works, get the obligatory 4 out of 5 stars on their annual performance review, and things are hunky dory.

    Truth be told, they could likely be a superstar in another position, not just a steady performer, and don’t even realize it. To me that is the real definition of being in the wrong job.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

    Chris Young
    The Rainmaker Group