Are you in the wrong job?

Research from the CIPD suggests you could well be, with 49% of the 3,700 respondents to its latest survey saying they are either under or over-qualified for their current role.

Misfit puzzle
Just over one in ten (12%) say they lack the skills for their role - a feature more likely to concern graduates (14%) than people without a degree (10%).

The hour-glass workforce revisited?

The UK has one of most skilled workforces in the world, with 42% of workers qualified to degree level. It also has the highest proportion of jobs within the OECD requiring no qualifications at all.Almost a third (30%) of respondents said that a higher level degree would be required in order to get their job. Yet, lower qualifications are actually needed to do their job effectively. Many graduates are therefore in roles that do not require degree level qualifications, suggesting employers are still using degrees as a way of filtering applications.

The penalty of being over-skilled

The CIPD’s survey, Over-skilled and underused: Investigating the untapped potential of UK skills, also found that being over-skilled can have a number of negative consequences on employees.Just 53% of over-skilled workers said they are satisfied with their jobs compared to 74% of people whose skills are well-suited to their role. In the long term, being over-skilled can hurt people’s chances of climbing up the career ladder. Just 22% of over-skilled workers have been promoted to a higher position in their current organisation compared with almost a third (31%) of workers in well-matched roles. Furthermore, more than a quarter of over-skilled workers earn less than £20,000 a year compared with just 15% of those whose say their skills are well matched to their jobs, suggesting a significant opportunity cost to individuals, their employers and the UK economy.

A quarter missed out on training and development last year

The CIPD’s results also highlight the importance of ongoing training and development in the workplace. A quarter (24%) of respondents said they had not received training in the last year.Older employees, low-wage workers, those on part-time contracts and the self-employed are most likely to be in this position. 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. 

Solving the productivity puzzle

Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser at the CIPD, comments: “How skills are used, or not used, in the workplace has important economic and social implications, and is a key factor in tackling the UK’s productivity crisis.“Individuals who report using their skills fully in the workplace have higher levels of job satisfaction, earn more and are more resilient to change, while businesses benefit from a more productive workforce and increased profitability. “However, we have ended up in a situation where our economy isn’t creating nearly enough high-skilled jobs, while the proportion of low-skilled roles remains stubbornly high. This leaves many workers trapped in low-skill work, which doesn’t match their ability, offers poorer pay and progression prospects and does little to boost the productivity of organisations. 

'Greater focus on better people management practices'

“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," Lizzie Crowley continues.“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.”Head to the HR section for more features and insight into skills and talent management. 
Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.
Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory

Related Articles