Research has indicated UK employers are not getting the most out of their employees’ skill sets, as three in 10 workers admit they have ‘secret skills’ they don’t use at work because they’re not in their job description.
A survey commissioned by the Association of Project Management (APM) found that the hidden skills employees were holding back included leadership (40%) communication (39%) project and time management (38%), and teamwork skills (32%).
The problem was particularly prevalent in London, where 50% of respondents said they were not working to their full potential.
APM CEO professor Adam Boddison, said: “Headline after headline speaks of skills shortages and the tight labour market, yet bosses are missing a trick. There’s a vast pool of untapped talent within British businesses that isn’t being harnessed to its full potential.
“Perhaps the solution to the productivity puzzle lies closer to home than envisaged. Employers’ best investment looks likely to be in quality training to empower their people to fulfil their potential.”
Many of the 2,000 survey respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the development opportunities they had been given. Thirty-two per cent said they had received just enough training to do their job and 45% had not been offered any training in key skills including communication, teamwork and time management.
Learning and development
Employers not investing in training stand to lose key talent. Nearly a third (28%) said they had previously changed careers due to a lack of upward mobility, while a further 35% had seriously considered a career change in order to have more opportunities for progression.
Meanwhile, the CIPD’s annual good work index has found one in five workers (20%) were likely to quit their current role in the next 12 months, compared with 16% in 2021.
The survey of 6,000 workers found that, of those planning to find a new job, 35% are moving for better pay and benefits elsewhere, 27% want to increase job satisfaction, 24% are looking for better work-life balance, and 23% want to do a different type of work.
The good work index measures job quality against seven dimensions: pay and benefits; employment contracts; work-life balance; job design and nature of work; relationships at work; employee voice; and health and wellbeing.
The CIPD found a lack of development opportunities had kept people trapped in low paid roles, with just 39% of those earning up to £20,000 per year stating their job offered good skill development opportunities, compared with 72% of those earning £60,000 or above per year.
Only 25% of lower earners said their job offered good career advancement prospects, compared with 51% of higher earners.
Melanie Green, research adviser for the CIPD, said: “All jobs have the potential to be better and we should aspire to make good work a reality for everyone in the workforce. This means going beyond pay to think about how people’s roles are designed, how flexible their role can be – in location or hours – supporting good health and wellbeing, and investing in employee development so they have the means to progress in their career.
“The pandemic exacerbated existing inequalities and many issues still persist. By taking a holistic look at the dimensions of good work, and bolstering people management practices, managers and employers can make a real difference to people’s working lives.”