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Half of UK workers are in the wrong job, says CIPD

Almost half (49 percent) of UK workers are in jobs they are either under or over-skilled for, according to new research from the CIPD.

The CIPD is calling for organisations to improve how they develop their people
The CIPD is calling for organisations to improve how they develop their people

The research found that more than a third (37 percent) of workers have the skills to cope with more demanding duties than they currently have. At the opposite end of the scale, one in 10 (12 percent) employees said they lacked all the skills needed to carry out their job effectively.


The CIPD said this means that as many as half (49 percent) of UK workers could be in the wrong job, based on their skill level.


It also said that the UK has one of most skilled workforces in the world, with 42 percent of workers qualified to degree level, yet it also has the highest proportion of jobs within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which require no qualifications at all.


The report also shows that more employees with a university degree said they were under-skilled for their role compared to those without one. The CIPD said this highlights the importance of ongoing training and development in the workplace.


Despite this, a quarter of respondents said they had not received training in the last year, with older employees, low-wage workers, those on part-time contracts and the self-employed, most likely to say this.


The CIPD’s survey also found that being over-skilled can have a number of negative consequences on employees. Just 53 percent of over-skilled workers said they are satisfied with their jobs compared to 74 percent of people whose skills are well-suited to their role.


The CIPD said that, in the long run, being over-skilled can hurt people’s chances of climbing up the career ladder. More than 20 percent (22) of workers who say they are over-skilled have been promoted to a higher position in their current organisation compared with almost a third (31 percent) of workers in well-matched roles.


In response to these challenges, the CIPD is calling for organisations to improve how they manage and develop their people and for 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.


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


• The Chancellor should use the budget later this month to boost investment in skills development through the National Productivity Investment Fund (NIPF);

• 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.


Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser at the CIPD, said: “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.”

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